mon 05/12/2022

South Korea

Park Jiha, Stone Nest, K-Music - timeless evocative East-West soundscapes

Even those with the most tangential connection to pop music will be aware that K-Pop is all conquering, and the likes of BTS and BlackPink are on some metrics the most successful of recent acts anywhere. But at the same time, there is also a growing...

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Dongyang Gozupa, Purcell Room review - K-Music’s power trio

A minute before coming on stage, the audience is asked to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Halloween tragedy in the central Itaewon district of the South Korean capital of Seoul. The stage is dark, clouds of dry ice forming a...

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Decision to Leave review - sly, slow-burning love and death

In Park Chan-wook’s strange Cannes prize-winning thriller, a husband is discovered mangled beneath a mountain, and pretty widow Seo-rae (Tang Wei) isn’t noticeably upset.Brilliant young detective Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) becomes obsessed as...

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In Front of Your Face review - a day in the life

Twenty-four hours in the life of a Korean woman, Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung), are caught in scenes which feel like real time in Hong Sangsoo’s latest. Moments and personal connections fall in and out of focus, the film seems sober then drunk. Hong learned...

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Hallyu! The Korean Wave, V&A review - frenetic but fun

Remember Gangnam Style, the music video that went viral in 2012? PSY’s cheeky lyrics and daft moves attracted 1.6 billion hits on YouTube, sparked dozens of parodies and turned the world on to K-pop. And that was just the beginning; K-pop has since...

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Album: Blackpink - Born Pink

This album – and its already multi-100 million stream single “Pink Venom” – starts off with a twang of Korean traditional instruments, a background chant of “blaaaackpink”, a monumentally crunching hip hop beat and – OH DEAR GOD ARE THEY DOING...

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Hellbound, Netflix review - supernatural assassins usher in an age of terror

Netflix is sometimes criticised for bringing too much of everything to its online feast, but the way it’s opening up previously under-exposed territories is becoming seriously impressive. Suddenly, South Korea is beginning to look like a powerhouse...

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Straight White Men, Southwark Playhouse review - an exciting Korean-American playwright arrives in the UK

The Korean-American writer Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, currently enjoying its UK debut at Southwark Playhouse, is presented within a frame that cleverly and radically alters what’s inside it. That would be a sparkly prologue...

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Album: Golden Child - Game Changer

This second full-length album from South Korean 10-piece Golden Child moves seamlessly from pop balladry to anthemic EDM without ever losing its footing.With ghostly, submerged bell noises, ominous-sounding low brass, joined by strings and pounding...

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Album: Tomorrow X Together - The Chaos Chapter: Freeze

This second full-length album from South Korean quintet TXT scrambles musical genres in rich and fascinating ways. From the fizzing hi-hats and dreamy chords of opener “Anti-Romantic” to the harmonic stasis and minimalist groove of “Frost” which...

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Night in Paradise review - lukewarm bloodbath

Since launching his directing career in 2011 with The Showdown, Park Hoon-jung has established himself as a promising devotee of the bloody gangster genre. The pandemic may have slowed the South Korean director’s momentum, as the producers were...

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The Woman Who Ran review - toxic male alert

The dramatic developments in The Woman Who Ran, the 24th film written and directed by Hong Sang-soo since 1996, are mild to say the least. The worst that befalls the protagonist, a romantically puzzled thirtysomething Seoul florist called Gam-hee (...

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