Youngmee Hwang

Film critic; professor, Sookmyung Women’s University


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for



Kim Ki-Duk


Milos Forman

Doctor Zhivago


David Lean



Steven Spielberg

Gran Torino


Clint Eastwood



Akira Kurosawa



Park Chan-wook

Paris, Texas


Wim Wenders

Piano, The


Jane Campion

Talk to Her


Pedro Almodóvar


Director Jane Campion’s The Piano tells how women can create and relate their true identity in a male-centered society. She dramatically portrays this dynamic through the mute character of Ada. The Piano is widely regarded as one of the best classic feminist films. 2004 Cannes International Film Festival Jury Prize winner Old Boy features a unique mise en scѐne by employing the mythic and Freudian Elektra complex. Old Boy illustrates the psychology of human nature, unfolding in a truly ingenious screen composition. Paris, Texas won the Palm d’Or at the 1984 Cannes International Film Festival. It depicts the pathos of a main character who experiences the ‘vanity’ of life. Through Salieri’s confessions, Amadeus follows the footprint of the life of Mozart, who gets frustrated with the lack of contemporary peer recognition for his music. Unlike them, Salieri discovers and envies the genius of Mozart. Salieri’s internal suffering adds philosophical and psychological depth to the movie. Doctor Zhivago vividly demonstrates how the whirlwind of political change affects an intellectual’s life and his family. Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel, it won five Academy awards. Doctor Zhivago is an epic novel realised on screen through the combination of breathtaking images and a beautiful music score. Grand Torino embodies the agony of multicultural American society. The change in the main character’s behaviour signifies what true hospitality towards immigrants and others means. It offers us an opportunity to contemplate the genuine role of a movie – not simply as a form of entertainment, but as a vehicle for facing society with an open mind. E.T.’s greatest appeal is that it views an alien through the unprejudiced eyes of children. The climactic scene in which E.T. and the kids fly through the night-sky on bicycles against the backdrop of a full moon is reaches a height of human imagination and will remain forever one of the most memorable scenes in film history. By featuring a man who breaks into an empty house and starts to live there as if it is his own, 3-Iron relates the reality of modern people and families who are like empty houses. This movie tries to transcend our physical limitations, reaching the point where distinguishing fantasy from reality becomes meaningless. In The Wood is based on an intelligent and skepticism-filled short story written by the modern Japanese writer Ryunosuke Ahkudagawa, about the murder of a samurai warrior at the hands of bandits. However, the testimonies of witnesses differ from each other. With its truly unique narrative style, this masterpiece reveals the selfishness of human beings. Talk To Her movie can be described as a maximisation of the purity that Almodóvar pursues through his unique and exotic works of romance. Talk To Her tells us that social prejudice and ignorance towards the neglected classes can turn to violence, which again turns pure and earnest love into nothing. Marco’s warm feelings toward Benigno, who experienced a strange and sad love, remind us that we should broaden the horizons of our understanding of human beings.

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