Pierce Conran
Seoul, South Korea

Pierce Conran is a film journalist based out of Seoul, where he tries to get the lowdown on the latest and greatest from the Korean peninsula for Twitch and runs the website Modern Korean Cinema. Irish by birth, he has lived in Dublin, Switzerland, New York and Los Angeles. When he's not going to film festivals, writing about and reporting on films or rambling on Twitter (@pierceconran), he mostly stares wistfully out the window.

Busan 2015 Review: TWENTY TWO, Sober But Slow Portrait Of Chinese Comfort Women

One of most sensitive topics in regional Far East Asian politics these days, Japan's use of comfort women during the wane of its colonial empire is a constant talking point on the news. Among the more sobering and least sentimental... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: RECORDING Chronicles Charming Cast In Forgettable Story

It's the small moments that work in Recording, a story that is low on ambition but infused with a winning charm even as it drags in the scripting department, particularly in the back half. Sweet and unaffected, Park Min-kook's debut... More »
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Kim Ki-duk Gets $24 Million for Chinese War Film WHO IS GOD

And now for something completely different. Maverick Korean auteur Kim Kim-duk is hopping over to China for his next project, and after years of working on microbudgets and failing to crack his own country's commercial realm, he's getting a supersized... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: SPECIAL ANNIE Awkwardly Switches From Subject To Artist

Ten years after her feature debut What Are We Waiting For?, documentarian Kim Hyun-kung returns with an intimate film that is both a portrait of a HIV-positive New Yorker and a filmmaker uncertain of her aims. Awkwardly straddling the border... More »
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Bong Joon-ho Nabs Jake Gyllenhaal And More For New Monster Feature

Returning to the creature feature well after 2006's The Host, ace Korean director Bong Joon-ho's next film Okja (no English title as of yet) is gearing up for production early next year and a cast of big names is starting... More »
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Busan 2015 Review: BAD GUYS ALWAYS DIE Suffers A Slow Death

One of the more high profile among the many China-Korea collaborations being made these days, Bad Guys Always Die teams Taiwanese star Chen Bolin with top Korean actress Son Ye-jin in an action-comedy (leaning more towards the later) set on... More »
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Busan 2015 Review: ALONE Winds Its Mystery Through The Backstreets Of Seoul

Four years after his experimental 3D shaman mystery Fish, Park Hong-min returns to BIFF with another singular work that offers one of the most compelling examinations of gentrification in Seoul. Alone follows a single character as he hops from one... More »
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Busan 2015 Review: STEEL FLOWER Offers Wilted View Of Korean Youth

A year after Wild Flowers, Park Suk-young returns to the Busan International Film Festival with Steel Flower. Gritty, intimate and centering around a young girl lost in a harsh urban world, Park's latest kicks off on the same foot as... More »
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Busan 2015 Review: REACH FOR THE SKY Goes There And Beyond

The last few BIFFs have each afforded us one great documentary (Non-Fiction Diary, Factory Complex), and 2015 proves to be no exception with the discovery of the timely Reach for the SKY, a compelling look at a common but disastrous... More »
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Busan 2015 Review: ORDINARY PEOPLE Offers Tired Gags In Familiar Situations

Three years after his debut Over and Over Again, director Kim Byung-june returns to Busan with a much livelier effort that strives to mixes social realism and situational crime comedy. Aping the lowbrow comic efforts of Korea's commercial realm, Ordinary... More »
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Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: THE PASSING Broods And Glooms In Welsh Countryside

Oozing rustic dread in the remote Welsh countryside, Gareth Bryn's The Passing toys with the hidden demons of three lonely characters on a sumptuous, wet and verdant stage. Beautiful to behold but perhaps too slight in the narrative department, this... More »
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Fantastic Fest 2015 Review: THE TREACHEROUS Sexes Up History In Convoluted King's Court Potboiler

History gets a savage makeover in The Treacherous, a new period offering from Korea detailing the tyrannical reign of King Yeonsan, long known as the most despotic ruler of the Joseon Era. High on provocation and low on historical accuracy,... More »
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Toronto 2015 Review: COLLECTIVE INVENTION Asks The Right Questions, But Has None Of The Answers

Wrapping a raft of social issues plaguing modern Korean society into a simple allegory, Collective Invention, a quirky new comedy-drama with dashes of the same humor found in Bong Joon-ho's work, is a succinct but relatively straightforward affair. The setting... More »
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Venice 2015 Review: A COPY OF MY MIND Sells Itself On Romance And Intrigue

Acclaimed Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar returns with his fifth feature, A Copy of My Mind, a tale of love, passion and how to get ahead in the back alleys of sprawling Jakarta. Made with the help of CJ Entertainment, as... More »
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Review: GOODNIGHT MOMMY, An Unsettling Nightmare

Austrian arthouse horror Goodnight Mommy gets under your skin early and stays there long after the credits. Within its sparse and sterile decor, this minutely observed chamber piece tears apart the constructs of the family drama. Following an accident, a... More »
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Busan 2015: BIFF Goes The Distance With Jam-Packed 20th Edition

For its 20th edition, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has cooked up something pretty special, as it is set to deliver a jam-packed lineup sure to satisfy viewers of all tastes, and then some. Opening with the vivid Indian... More »
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Locarno 2015: Golden Leopard Goes To Hong Sangsoo

The 68th Locarno International Film Festival wound to a close yesterday and offered its top prize to a Korean film for the first time, in what was a strong night overall for Asian features. Two years after picking up the... More »
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Locarno 2015 Review: RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN, Stars Shine In Classic Hong Sangsoo

Following Hong Sangsoo's career guarantees for viewers, at the very least, one thing - developing a keen eye for detail. The auteur's films are remarkably similar to one another, from their lecherous male director/professor characters and conversations over bottles of... More »
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Liam Neeson To Play General MacArthur In Korean War Pic

A Moment to Remember (2004) and 71: Into the Fire (2010) director John H. Lee is set to helm Korean War pic Operation Chromite and the first cast member to join the project is none other than Liam Neeson, who... More »
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Review: THE BEAUTY INSIDE, High Concept Melo Is More Glib Than Its Title

A corporate-sponsored high concept web series gets the glossy Korean melodrama treatment in The Beauty Inside, the top romantic offering of the season. Featuring a laundry list of Korean stars all playing the same character, this debut film by music... More »
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