Podcast Review: What’s Korean Cinema?

whats korean cinema

I may be wrong, but I think the answer to the question is that it’s cinema, from Korea!

What’s Korean Cinema?

The Gist

What’s Korean Cinema? Is part of the Podcast on Fire Network of Asian themed film related podcasts. It’s been around for a few years now, with episodes being released on a very sporadic basis. Said episodes can be anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours in length. The hosts shift around a bit, but the main hosts appear to be Kenny B, Paul Quinn, and Stewart Sutherland. The premise of What’s Korean Cinema? is that of discussion centered around films that have come from Korea, either North or South (as well as films from back when there was only one Korea) I do believe. Each episode features a review of two Korean movies, usually one old and one that’s a tad newer.

Episodes Listened To

#10: Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy
#11: Barefooted Youth & Failan
#12: The Hand Of Destiny & JSA (Joint Security Area)

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, after episode ten I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep listening to What’s Korean Cinema?. It wasn’t a terrible episode, but that episode centered around more of a plot breakdown than analysis of the films and that’s not the sort of film talk that interests me. The really long run time of the episode didn’t help matters either, as at three hours long the episode dragged a lot. After episode ten a podcast I had been hyped to check out had left me extremely underwhelmed.

Then episodes eleven and twelve happened and I had a podcast to be excited for again. In those two episodes the hosts brought some great critical analysis to the table, as well as a fun atmosphere of discourse, and deep knowledge of Korean cinema. The way the hosts were able to discuss the films on their own merits while tying them into their Korean roots was an approach I greatly appreciated. What’s Korean Cinema? quickly became a favorite podcast of mine over the course of episodes eleven and twelve.

The differing opinions of the hosts helped a lot in my enjoyment of the podcast. I never felt like I was listening to group think as each host had their own opinions which sometimes went against the grain. Also of value was the way in which the hosts presented their opinions. I never felt like I was being preached to, or that the hosts took umbrage with people who thought differently. These may seem like small factors, but I find that when it comes to enjoying a podcast they are rather large issues indeed.

What’s Korean Cinema? is a bit of a niche podcast, but I wouldn’t actually label it as such. It’s true that Korean cinema is their forte, but Korean cinema really shouldn’t be niche. I happen to love Korean cinema and I look forward to discovering more films thank to this podcast just as much as I’m looking forward to hearing what the hosts have to say about the films I have already seen. It started off rocky, but What’s Korean Cinema? pulled through with two very strong episodes and that’s why my vote is to subscribe to What’s Korean Cinema?.

The Bottom Line


Bill Thompson

5 responses to “Podcast Review: What’s Korean Cinema?

  1. Thank you, Bill for taking the time and for the kind words! Appreciate it a lot! A new episode is nearly done. Just waiting for a separate recording to come in.

  2. Pingback: Hangul Celluloid

  3. Thanks goes to you guys for keeping up the good work. 🙂

  4. Jordan Richardson

    Going to have to check this out. I’m a big fan of Korean cinema and I think it offers a very special flavour, but I don’t know all that much about it. Shit, I haven’t even seen Oldboy yet. 😦

  5. If you do check out the podcast, hope you like it. 🙂 And, of the vengeance trilogy, Oldboy is actually my least favorite, even if it’s still great. Lady Vengeance is where it’s at for me.

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