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.

Cannes 2014 Review: A GIRL AT MY DOOR Is Korean Cinema At Its Finest

Screening in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section this year is A Girl at My Door, a film that is so well-wrought that one can't help but be swept up in its artistry, which effortlessly plunges us into... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Jeonju 2014 Review: Grand and Mysterious, THE AVIAN KIND Soars

A great many gems have emerged from the Korean independent scene of late, but some worry that the milieu lacks the unique voices that it used to cultivate 10 to 15 years ago. Director Shin Yeon-shick may already be on... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Jeonju 2014 Review: Meditative POHANG HARBOR Doesn't Quite Connect

In a country with so many hardships out in the open and an unspoken swell of pain swirling just beneath the surface, there needs to be a release valve for the frustrations of ordinary citizens. In Korea, that role is... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: The Beauty Of THE FATAL ENCOUNTER Is Only Skin Deep

Following a slow few months, commercial Korean cinema returns to the spotlight with The Fatal Encounter, the first of the many period blockbusters that will inundate local theaters through to the end of summer. Following in the footsteps of the... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Asia Beat: Udine Awards, New Sono Sion, Tsui Hark, THE FATAL ENCOUNTER And More

Welcome to Asia Beat, a fortnightly roundup of bite-sized news pieces from around the region that might have otherwise slipped under the radar but which we feel are worth bringing to your attention. Anything from casting news, poster premieres, to... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Review: Tone-deaf MONSTER Exhibits Unusual Cruelty Towards Women

Ingenue Kim Go-eun gets her first top billing in director Hwang In-ho's uneven and sadistic revenge thriller Monster. Exhibiting the same irreverence towards genre as in his previous film Spellbound (2011) but with none of the panache, Hwang fails to... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

At Last! SNOWPIERCER To Break The Ice On June 27th

UPDATE: CJ Entertainment, the producer of Snowpiercer, has confirmed that the film will be released in June, though according to them a date hasn't been finalized.It's been a long and winding road but Bong Joon Ho's eagerly anticipated Snowpiercer has... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: SPROUT's Short and Sweet Seoul Odyssey

A little girl's trip to the market becomes a charming journey through modern Korea in Yoon Ga-eun's delightful short film Sprout, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival last October. Korean indie cinema often makes a point of demonstrating... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: Grand and Hypnotic, A DREAM OF IRON Won't Soon Be Forgotten

Early on in A Dream of Iron, a new documentary premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival this year, director Kelvin Kyung Kun Park shows us images a whales moving through the vast blue expanse of the ocean - enormous... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

New Wildflower Awards Recognize Independent Korean Cinema

The Wildflower Film Awards, a new audience-led initiative to recognize achievements in independent Korean cinema, is getting underway this month. Launched by Korean film expert and koreanfilm.org founder Darcy Paquet, the awards will be handed out each February to outstanding contributions... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Berlinale 2014 Review: Subdued Yet Powerful, NIGHT FLIGHT Soars

LeeSong Hee-il returns to Berlin a year after White Night (2012) with his fourth feature Night Flight. While his last film was a subdued but powerful work about lingering memories of homophobia in modern Seoul, his new film is his... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Ha Ji-won Cast in Ha Jung-woo's CHRONICLE OF A BLOOD MERCHANT

Before he makes a decision on his offer to potentially star alongside Lee Jung-jae and Jun Ji-hyun in Choi Dong-hoon's 30s-set blockbuster thriller Assassination, Ha Jung-woo will be spending some time both before and behind the camera with his sophomore... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Korean Box Office: MISS GRANNY, FROZEN Lead Korea's Biggest Weekend

It was a huge weekend for theaters during this year's Lunar New Year, the biggest in fact, with around five million tickets sold. This was above the 3.5 million recording during last year's Lunar Year frame and significantly above the... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: VENUS TALK Drowns Out Despite Strong Female Stars

As a fan of Moon So-ri and production company Myung Films, I felt that I should be excited about Venus Talk, their first collaboration since Im Sang-soo's excellent A Good Lawyer's Wife (2003). But on the other hand, with its... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

AVENGERS 2 to Shoot in Korea, Local Actress Cast as Villain

Joss Whedon's blockbuster sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron is planning to shoot some sequences in and around Seoul later this year. When news surfaced and caught fire in Korea last week it seemed like it might have been a rumor... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE HUNTRESSES Misfire in Poorly-Plotted Blunder

Following the recent hits Masquerade (2012) and last year's The Face Reader, period films are set to make a big push into the Korean market in 2014 with at least six big Joseon era films poised to flood the market.... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE SATELLITE GIRL AND MILK COW Shows Promise for Korean Animation

There is no shortage of skilled animators in Korea, but following the floundering of the local animation industry in the 1970s, most of that talent went into domestic TV production or was sucked into the outsourced contracts of far more... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Ha Jung-woo, Jun Ji-hyun, And Lee Jung-jae Circling 30s Thriller ASSASSINATION

Korean hitmaker Choi Dong-hoon is back at it again with a new 1930s set action thriller purported to be in the $12 million budget range. Titled Assassination, the project is eyeing some big talent for leading roles. Ha Jung-woo, Jun... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: Electric Song Kang-ho Leads Courtroom Drama THE ATTORNEY

The combination of politics and cinema has led to some of the most incendiary films the medium has ever produced. Though a tricky balancing act that requires a deft handling of ideologies and a sensitive navigation of contemporary political climates,... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: Delightful Retro Comedy HOT YOUNG BLOODS Runs Out Of Steam

Just as the taste of a madeleine triggers a rush of childhood memories for the protagonist in Marcel Proust's magnum opus In Search of Lost Time, smells, sounds and images can transport all of us to different times in our... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  
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