South Korean Cinema: Week 4 - "Asia Extreme"

South Korean Cinema

April 26, 2023

South Korean Cinema: An Unconventional Crash Course

All of us are watching this course’s South Korean films in the United States. How did this come to be? In week four, we will investigate how Asian cinema—and Korean films in particular—has come to be marketed, circulated, and consumed abroad under the quasi-genre of “Asia Extreme.” But what else is Korean cinema besides “extreme,” why is it sometimes so extreme, and how does it reckon with extreme themes using tools besides gore and violence?

To begin thinking about Korean cinema within and beyond a transnational flow of capital, we will discuss such films as the “Asia Extreme” cornerstone Oldboy (2003), the genre-defying cult hit Save the Green Planet! (2003), and the subtle and clever Microhabitat (2017).


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


Oldboy can be rented from Scarecrow Video and is not available for streaming in the United States. Content Advisory: Gore; discussions and depictions of sexual violence.

Microhabitat is available for streaming on Tubi.


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.