The Dong-won coal mine in Jeongseon, Gangwon-do, closed in 2004. It was the last coal mine in the province. But for me, its lasting importance can be found in 1980 when over 6,000 workers and their families went on strike for better working conditions. The strike became violent injuring 160 and killing one policeman.
Ticket stands out amongst other hostess dramas because of the honesty with which it shows the ruthlessness that da-bangs must be run and the desperation with which the women in it must work. Also, this film is the first production of the female actor Kim Ji-mee who also stars.
During Lunar New Year and Chuseok, Seoul is amazing beautiful for a few hours. In the mornings you can go out to the busiest of places and find no one. This year I went to Gangnam and got to experience a kind of aloneness I have never felt in Korea.
In Yeong-ja's Heydays we can see the beginnings of the Korean hostess melodrama. More importantly, we can see the harsh realities that women faced in the 70s. This is a powerful film underscored by Kim Seung-ok's writing, Kim Ho-seon's direction, and Yeom Bok-sun's breathtaking performance as Yeong-ja.
Secret Love Affair is the best Korean drama I have yet to see. Through this story we can see the culture of chaebol life and the prisons they live in. This drama is beautifully made and wonderfully acted. Kim Hee-ae is brilliant.
Ieoh Island, by Kim Ki-young, looks at the myths and symbols of Korea's shamanistic culture in a small island off the Southern coast. The film's beautiful cinematography cannot overcome its other shortcomings, particularly its ultra-sexist portrayal of women.
Splendid Outing (1977) is interesting for its semi-creative nightmare scenario of what it would feel like for a successful woman to suddenly become married. Yoon Jeong-hee, as always, is incredible, but this is completely her show and she owns it.
The General's Mustache is interesting for the questions it raises on society and individual identity in post-war Korea. It seems to suggest that one's ability to conform is the basis upon which one's identity and successful integration depends most highly.
NIght Voyage shows a woman's (Yoon Jung-hui) struggle to escape her own dependency on men. Yoon Jung-hui plays Hyun-ju with impressive subtlety and complexity as she detests her own situation while also contributing to its longevity. This movie brings together the same director, writer, and leading actors as in 1967's The Foggy Town.
The Pollen of Flowers (1972) is considered to be one of the first Korean films to show a gay relationship on screen, although ultimately to little effect. The film violently (and sexually) shows one ahjeossi's attempt to control everyone around him -- destroying all of their lives in the process.
To me, the best part was enjoying delicious food with my friends and seeing the quiet and mostly nondescript places where Hahaha was filmed. Also, while blowfish soup is delicious, it is even more so while eating it in the same chairs and tables that shared the asses of Kim Sang-gyeong, Moon So-ri, Kim Kang-woo, Ye Ji-won, and Yoo Joon-sang.