The Asian Films and Your Picks

Bloody action movies, Asian philosophy, intriguing stories, and tearful dramas are all Korean films. Now films from this country are mainly associated with quality work, although even 20 years ago the situation was completely different. We understand the history of Korean cinema from its inception to the present day, and we also recommend what to see. Make a visit to for the best time.

From hardship to leadership

An acquaintance of the Koreans with the movie began quite late. For the first time, “moving pictures” were brought to the country by the American traveler Barton Holmes in 1901. His videos shot on a portable camera, he showed King Kodzhonu. But the cinema reached a wide audience only two years later when paid sessions began to be held in one of Seoul’s markets.

The first public film screening in Korea took place on June 23, 1903.

Traditional cinemas in the country began to appear only in 1909. By that time, several hundred films had already been created in the West, including the famous Journey to the Moon by Georges Méliès. In the early years, it was American and European films that dominated the Korean box office. Everything changed in 1910 when the country became a Japanese colony, and the new owners began to use the Korean film market as a platform for the realization of their films.

It was the Japanese seizure that prevented Korea from starting to develop its film production because almost all the money from the box office went to Japan. The only income for Korea itself was the first Dongdaemun cinema, the Japanese left it in the care of local authorities. Therefore, the production of the first national film had to be saved for nine years. As a result, in 1919, the world saw the film “Fair Revenge” directed by Pak Sunpheil. The first Korean movie was not quite standard: only the background was recorded on the video, but the actors worked in front of the audience in real-time, like in a theater.

Poster of the first Korean film “Fair Revenge” (1919)

The audience enjoyed such cinema performances, and therefore the directors began to actively engage in the development of this direction. In 1920, for example, the first “feature film” – “Cheeks” was released in Korea.

Silent movie

Real cinema in Korea appeared in 1923 with the release of the silent film “The Oath of the Moon.” The first Korean films were weak both technically and in terms of plot. Development was again hindered by the Japanese government. Each film had to undergo a strict selection of a special committee, and it was allowed to shoot only in several genres: melodrama, costume drama and films with Japanese ideology. All other films could not pass the selection.

Nevertheless, some directors miraculously managed to bring their product to the rental. One of them was Na Ungyu. His 1926 film “Arran” is the most daring project of the time because one of his themes was a protest against Japan and the colonial system. Other films that fought for Korean independence followed Ariran: Tramp and Twilight Street.

Poster of the film “Arran” (1926)

This directorial freedom did not last long, and by the beginning of the thirties, government censorship had increased in Korea, and the number of films had decreased. So in 1931, film companies released six films, in 1932 – four, in 1934 – only two.

Category: TV