The best drama without any drama that you’ll see: Past Lives reviewed

Past Lives is an exquisite film made with great precision and care about what could have been, even if what could have been does not mean it should have been. Forgive me; it’s a hard film to pin down. That it’s exquisitely affecting and made with great precision and care is enough for now. No need to make a song and dance about it. Indeed, as Past Lives so deftly shows, you can have an excellent drama without any of the drama. I think that I may be in love with Greta Lee myself This is a first film from Celine Song, who is Canadian-Korean and otherwise a playwright. It

Lil’ Kim: should the West prepare for chaos in North Korea?

On 24 June, North Korean state TV aired a short interview with an unnamed Pyongyang resident. The man, who appeared to be in his fifties, said that his fellow countrymen had all been left heartbroken and in tears when they saw the new, ‘emaciated’ look of Kim Jong-un. The country’s hereditary dictator, who hadn’t been seen in public for a month, recently re-emerged looking rather different. Even now it’s a bit of a stretch to call him ‘emaciated’, since his estimated body weight is nearly 19 stone. Still, it is a big drop from the 23 stone he weighed only a month earlier. However, it was not Kim’s weight loss

Douglas Murray

Oli London and the trickiness of being ‘trans-racial’

Not everyone will have heard of Oli London, a British social media influencer who made news for two reasons last week. The first was that London came out as plural. Which is to say that he came out as a non-binary person. Which is very 2020 and something so un-noteworthy that I’m sure you’ll agree it is hardly worth remarking upon. The other thing London did was more unusual. Which was that he came out as Korean. You might guess from his name that Oli London is not Korean, but he has spent some time there (in the South rather than the North apparently) and enjoys the language and culture.

A work of extraordinary delicacy, poignancy and tenderness: Minari reviewed

In the summer of 2018, when film-maker Lee Isaac Chung was on the brink of giving up filmmaking and had accepted a teaching job, he found himself writing a list of what he remembered growing up as a Korean-American in rural America in the 1980s. These ‘little visual memories’ included, for example, the lunch pails his parents would take to their jobs at the chicken factory, or the minari — a herb used in Korean cookery and medicine — his father planted on their farm. This list became the film Minari, which lately won a Golden Globe and has been nominated for six Oscars. It is a work of extraordinary

How Korean cinema mastered the art of horror

There is a moment in the Jung brothers’ 2007 ghost film, Epitaph, when a young doctor in wartime Korea realises that the wife he adores does not have a shadow. He is entertaining her with a shadow puppet show in their home when he notices the aberration. ‘Walk to me,’ he says as he waves a naked light bulb in front of her. She had been a visiting medical student in Japan a year earlier and, unbeknownst to him, had died in an accident. It’s a moment that perfectly illustrates the psychological subtlety and brilliant scene-making of Korean film. Epitaph is about a group of young doctors working in a