Whenever people find out I studied film, they ask me “So who’s your favourite director?”
I didn’t like answering that question. For one, filmmakers have styles and specific qualities that make their films unique. To say one is better than another based on my personal taste didn’t seem fair.
But also, my favourite film director had a knack for producing off-beat, “crackhead” films, and it was difficult for me to explain why he was still my favourite even though he was horrible at landing endings.
Note: There will be spoilers.
Sisyphus: The Myth is JTBC’s 10th anniversary K-drama. For this landmark project, there’s of course no way the producers were going to settle for the ordinary fare of good-looking boys, a typical romance, or an obvious, predictable plot.
No, Sisyphus was pitched as an exciting story about an engineer who was too intelligent for his own good. Because of his brains, his ego balloons, resulting in the downfall of himself and the whole of South Korea.
If you know anyone who is a fan of IU, SF9, Momoland, Epik High, Seventeen, MAMAMOO or Cherry Bullet, you might’ve noticed them raging or whining while scrolling through a greyed-out Spotify playlist this morning. Try to be kind to them; licensing disputes between Spotify and the South Korean music distribution site Kakao M have resulted in K-pop fans around the world waking up to find hundreds of K-pop songs removed from Spotify. Effective 1 March 2021, the music that Kakao M distributes have all been stripped from Spotify’s global music distribution platform.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger — especially if they’re sealed behind the screen.
With the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) barring us indoors, people around the world have turned to Netflix for respite. Netflix reported a US$709 profit on their US$5.8 billion revenue, and has increased its investments in Asian content to cater to its 16 million new subscribers.
Netflix established a notable partnership with South Korean producers to co-produce and distribute content under the label of “Netflix originals”. These collaborations are not only high in quality, but they have also gained the licence to explore difficult topics and visual…
The “fantasy” genre is one hardly seen on regular television. The genre is difficult to produce because of how complex it is; from things like having to conduct extensive research to plotting multiple dimensions and timelines in a clear and entertaining way — producing a diegesis that is able to support the “fantasy” genre really isn’t the easiest.
Given the constraints that television faced in terms of air time and budget, high-budget screenplays and complex genres were traditionally a game for filmmakers — up until recently! With the emergence of cable TV and online programming, non-Hollywood players like HBO, BBC…
(May contain spoilers)
Among the Netflix Originals that managed to squeeze a release, the South Korean film #Alive (2020) was received with great anticipation. Be it the cult-favouring of the zombie-horror genre, a craving for content that isn’t homemade vlogs, or just the persevering fandom keeping Park Shin-hye’s career alive, the film reportedly garnered the highest weekend box office since the Coronavirus pandemic struck.
But I’m not here to give a review about #Alive — I’m more interested about the message #Alive is trying to send.
Forbes’ Asia ’30 under 30' compiled a list of individuals in Asia, categorising them by their area of specialty: industry, manufacturing and energy, enterprise technology, big money, and so on.
Korean girl group Twice made it onto Forbes’ list under ‘Sports and Entertainment’. Can’t really say I’m surprised; Twice’s members’ appearances on variety shows often gain record viewerships, and their sponsorships and commercials (what Koreans term as ‘CF’) guarantee top sales that season. The girl group arguably owes much of its success to its strong fan-base, who propelled Twice’s music video views into the thousands within minutes of its release.
The West has been the world’s top exporter of mainstream pop music for as long as I can remember. As Western countries projected themselves as a mighty global trend-setter, citizens of periphery countries (such as my own, i.e. non-Western countries) have been subjected to the flow of influence and power from the perspective of “West to the rest”. For non-Western acts to find success therefore, we tend to subconsciously view it as the peripheral country (or, “non-White” country) assimilating with and adapting to suit the predominantly White, players.
The age of Western imperialism however seems to be shifting. I…