10 films to start your Song Kang Ho obsession
Oh, and it will start. With the spectacular success of The Attorney, which became the ninth Korean film in history to pass the 10 million admissions mark this past week, and with a new Best Actor trophy from the fifth annual Best Film Awards (that makes it his 22nd Best Actor win across various ceremonies), Song Kang Ho is proving once again why he’s long been — and why he will continue to be — Korea's golden standard on the big screen. Unfamiliar with the magnetic actor extraordinaire? Want to know more? Love him already and just want to revisit his filmography? Read on.
This Quentin-Tarantino-approved box office giant propelled Song to stardom after his turn as the film’s singular scene-stealer, the North Korean sergeant Oh Kyung Pil.
2. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
In this first bloody installment of director Park Chan Wook’s Vengeance trilogy, the actor proves just how compelling he can be — you’ll find it hard to look away, no matter how cringe-inducing the scenes.
3. Memories of Murder
The best example of a crime drama to come out of South Korea is still Memories of Murder, masterfully directed by Bong Joon Ho. Song’s depiction of an old-school detective who faces an exercise in futility while hunting a faceless serial killer would have earned him an Oscar stateside.
4. The Host
Song leads the ensemble cast of director Bong’s big monster movie as the father of a schoolgirl who is kidnapped by a mutant sea creature in Seoul’s Han River.
5. The Show Must Go On
This gangster comedy shows a downtrodden father and husband struggling to keep his family together.
6. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
Song’s rollicking, wild, completely memorable turn as “The Weird” is one of the finest character-acting performances to come out of South Korean cinema in years.
Vampire Song? You got it. Forget Twilight sparkles, though -- this is a Park Chan Wook-directed effort about a priest who lusts after a housewife, after all. (The film also became a hot issue for his full frontal nudity, if you're into that kind of thing.)
In which he manages to stand out in an ensemble consisting of Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt and Chris Evans.
9. The Face Reader
Song led the The Face Reader, a star-studded period piece about a physiognomist who becomes entangled in the royal family’s struggle for the throne, to the top of the box office.
10. The Attorney
The film garnered attention for being a depiction of former South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun’s days at law — a definite cause of controversy — but is now being lauded as a genuine work.
Speak up, Korean film lovers! What's your favorite Song Kang Ho flick?