The International Aspects of International Movies


The Korean film industry is one of the few in the world that has not only been able to push Hollywood at home but for many years has been supplying international film festivals and other countries with great films. In honor of the 39th Moscow International Film Festival, where a retrospective of South Korean films was held for the second time, THR reviewed the most popular films and tried to unravel the secret of their success, discovering that they can be used in Russia. A visit to will offers you the best understanding.


There are no generally accepted genre laws for Korean filmmakers. They mix melodrama with action and comedy, rarely sinking to unambiguous happy endings. Often, the directors themselves write scripts for themselves, and if all over the world this, combined with a unique style, is a sign of author’s cinema, then in South Korea it’s the everyday routine of mainstream distribution. The anti-capitalist comedy “Okcha” Pon Joon Ho from the competition of the past Cannes Film Festival (the film participated in the main competition. – THR) about how Tilda Swinton tries to put charming super-pork on cutlets – an example of such creativity.


The explosive growth of the local film industry in the late 1990s began with the construction of multiplexes, and the development of the cinema business has not stopped to this day. True, the main thing in it is not the total number of halls (it stopped, reaching two thousand with a little), but new technologies and diversification.

Major industry players, CJ and Lotte, use record-breaking screens with a width of more than 30 meters, promote 4DX and a completely new display system with three projectors – ScreenX. The CGV network from CJ Entertainment Holding also develops art movie rental. For several years, the CGV Arthouse division at local film festivals has been presenting a special prize to Korean independent directors – the opportunity to show their film in the country’s best multiplexes.


“The West is the West, the East is the East, and they cannot come together,” wrote Rudyard Kipling at the end of the 19th century. Nowadays – when everyone uses the same smartphones (made, by the way, in the East!), Sit on the same Internet and live in megacities – these words seem outdated. But for Korean viewers, who weekly have the opportunity to compare films made in their homeland and in the United States, the writer’s testament again becomes relevant.

The individualism of the characters of American cinema and even the details of their life (they don’t take off their shoes when they enter the house!) Do not consider the representatives of this nation extremely prone to collectivism to be universal and for this reason, also prefer Russian films where all the mentality features are taken into account. But cultural differences also work in the opposite direction – they interfere with the perception and, therefore, the distribution of Korean cinema in the West.

State support and reforms

Korean movie rentals are protected by quotas in their homeland – at least 73 days a year, each cinema must show domestic films. True, the share of local films in the annual box office for several years exceeds 50% and these weather quotas no longer do. More effective measures that still affect the growth of the industry and the diversity of films are a change in the taxation of film companies, as well as the organization and support of specialized venture funds that invest in films.