South Korean Cinema: Week 3 - Gender and Sex

South Korean Cinema

April 19, 2023

South Korean Cinema: An Unconventional Crash Course

Gender and sex have long been tangled up in Korean filmmaking, both on- and off-screen. From the industry’s historical exclusion of female filmmakers, to the glorification of certain archetypal male characters over passive female characters, to the queer-coded subversion of heteronormativity, to the controversy around films that explore feminism in a #MeToo era… gender and sex are everywhere in South Korean cinema.

This week, we will tread deeper into these murky waters to think more expansively about gender and sexuality in South Korean films. To do so, we will watch auteur Kim Ki-young’s psychosexual and supernatural drama Io Island (1977) to explore the dynamics between “men,” “women” and beyond. As well, we will unpack the queer revenge story of Memento Mori (1999), parse the heated discussions around the “#MeToo film” Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 (2019), and sample the exciting subversion of patriarchal filmmaking achieved by Korea’s first feminist film collective, Kaidu Club.


Class Pass including all classes and screenings: $120 Sustainer | $100 Regular | $75 Member
Individual Talks: $25 Sustainer | $15 Regular | $10 SIFF member

Buy Tickets: In Person     Buy Tickets: Virtual

Buy Pass


7:00–9:00pm PT
SIFF Film Center (live) + Streamed via Zoom Webinar


Memento Mori can be rented from Scarecrow Video or streamed for free on Kanopy with most public library cards. Content Advisory: Depiction of suicide and discussion of sexual abuse of a minor.

Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 can be rented on AppleTV.

Selected short films by Kaidu Club will be shown in class.


Hannah Baek is an independent film programmer specializing in Asian cinema and interactive film screenings. She received a master’s degree from Harvard’s Regional Studies East Asia program, where she studied gender queerness in the "Dark Ages" of 1970s South Korean cinema. Most recently, she has worked with the Sundance Film Festival, the Harvard Film Archive, MUBI, SIFF, and Spectacle Theater.