Although South Korean films like Bong Joon-ho’s renowned’ Parasite’ have overdue recognition, insiders have said that what people regard as a corporate ethos has undermined the creative risk-taking of the industry.
Driven by what some people see as a corporate ethos in the major studios of the country, it is a model that threatens to stifle the very audacious storytelling that has made global filmmakers love Korean cinema over the previous two centuries.
To some extent, South Korea’s impressive collection of master authors have masked the reality of this trend, most of whom arrived at the scene at the end of the 1990s and are still producing some of their best work. It is difficult to feel too worried about South Korea’s general artistic production with Bong, Park Chan-wook, Lee Chang-dong and other industries ‘ elder statesmen still very active.
After all, Korean studios are still prepared to give the main names they have always enjoyed a creative influence – but new talents are being compelled into a much more cookie-cutter filming mode.
According to observers, the Korean sector partially suffers from its achievement. During the last 20 years, when the Korean film prospered creatively, it also boomed financially and became a significant company. With the stakes growing, a much-driven sector is impregnated by the entrepreneurial logic and the imperatives of risk decrease.
The increasingly traditional strategy of the studio has not only been noticed by Korean critics and film-makers. Filmmakers say they begin to see certain signs of a bit frustration for local audiences, and that they don’t support the same degree of Korean film they used to. This year, only three local movies — Extreme Job, Parasite and Exit (all distributed by local production giant CJ Entertainment) —are ranked among the top 10 of the Korean box office with Hollywood holding the remainder of the location and the lesser ranks covered with large local flops.
If there is hope for the endurance of New Korean cinema, as academics often refer to the latest golden age that’s not fresh, it probably lies in the collective sense of discernment that seems to hold the Korean cinema public up so far.