The Top Directors Working Today: Kim Ji-woon

It's no secret that some of the most exciting cinema right now is coming from South Korea. Chan Wook-park (OLDBOY) is probably its most famous export, but Kim Ji-woon is building a career any director would envy. His storytelling ability is crisp, engrossing and often breathtaking, while his camera technique is as fluid as it is stylish.

Some of you may know of his complicated horror jigsaw puzzle, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS which was little seen but very well reviewed. He followed that with A BITTERSWEET LIFE. Michael Mann often struggles to make a crime film this emotionally dense. Kim Ji-woon makes it look easy. The film is a soft center wrapped in a crunchy, bad-ass shell.

Now Ji-woon is set to release a Western (you heard me...a Korean Western). Steeped in the style of Sergio Leone, it's even titled THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE WEIRD. It played to rave reviews at Cannes. Here's the trailer.

A Horror Film, followed by a Gangster Pic, followed by a Western. Kim Ji-woon is like a Korean Tarantino, but with much more serious ambitions. In fact, if you've seen his films, you'd be more likely to compare him to the cerebral thrills of Christopher Nolan.

In short...he's simply a Great Director. If you haven't discovered him yet, there's a cinematic gold mine in store.

I didn't post a poll because I know he's largely unknown. Copies of A BITTERSWEET LIFE are not easy to find, but I swear to you this guy's the real deal and I couldn't leave him off just because he's not well known. Fans of Bella Tarr and Tsai Ming-liang should understand.

He has a strong sense of style, but he tends to overdo it, and both these movies are variations on pretty tired formulas. I see potential (there are great moments in both), but I'm not yet entirely convinced.


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10:38 AM  

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