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Comments on Katyn

I watched the Polish movie Katyń (2007) on the Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish military officers in 1940. I felt the acting was mediocre, the “shaky camera” technique used annoying at times, and the background music rather primitive, but there were also many strengths to the movie. It had some excellent scenes that capture […] – The College Entrance Exam

The new Korea podcast SeoulGlow looks very promising. View the Youtube video below for a fascinating set of interviews of high school students preparing to take the college entrance exam, and view the spectacle of police rushing late students to the exams: The creator of this video podcast is Michael Hurt, who writes at one […]


Kurosawa’s movie Ikiru (1952) has to be one of my all time favorite movies. Every time I watch it, I feel grabbed by the movie from the very opening scene, when we are introduced to the main character, Watanabe Kanji. We are shown him working at his desk at the local municipal government office, completely […]

Ring Derivatives

Korea and Japan both have really led the way in the whole genre of horror which appeals to a new generation of youth, especially women. America and Hong Kong are following behind, translating and redoing some of these movies (Ring, Grudge) or making others in the same vein (White Noise, the Eye) but many of […]

Korean Drama: The Fifth Republic

There is a historical drama to begin soon in Korea. I wish I was in Korea to watch this and that my Korean was good enough to enjoy it: “The 40 episodes cover the period from the morning of president Park Chung-hee’s assassination to the handover of power from Chun Doo-hwan to Roh Tae-woo.” But […]

Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat

I watched an episode of the cartoon “Sagwa: The Chinese Siamese Cat” today on PBS while eating lunch (shǎguā 傻瓜, meaning “fool”). Aimed at kids aged 5-8 years old, it is perfectly targeted to keep me entertained. When watching anything these days, I always feel my critical knife want to go into attack mode but […]

Oasis: Kim Kyung Hyun Talk

I attended Kim Kyung Hyun’s talk today on the Korean movie Oasis. Kim has written The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema. His talk, “Between Greenfinches and Sparrows: Interpreting Signs in Oasis” (He actually changed the title but I didn’t catch the new one) focused on Fantasy, Language, and Naturalism in director Lee Chang-dong’s movies, especially Oasis. […]

Just Watched Oasis

I just finished watching Oasis, a Korean movie directed by Lee Chang-dong. It is perhaps the most emotionally challenging movie I have ever seen. It is a tragic love story but also a merciless social critique. I’ll be attending a talk on the movie tomorrow given by Kim Kyung Hyun from UC Irvine and I’ll […]


It was Cary Grant movie night at Dudley, the graduate student activity center of campus. I stopped in for one of the movies, the 1946 suspense movie Notorious. It was fantastic. While it has a kind of simple “lets prevent a group of ruthless postwar Nazi Germans from creating nuclear weapons in a Brazilian mansion” […]

55 Days at Peking

I watched the old movie “55 Days at Peking” starring the National Rifle Association’s dear leader Charlton Heston. The movie is an account the Boxer rebellion in China in 1900, but specifically of the valiant defense of the foreign legations by a divisive group of Great Power diplomats and soldiers from around June 20th, when […]