K-Pop and K-Dramas are bringing more and more global attention to the entirety of the Korean entertainment scene. As such, this is naturally amping up curiosity among global fans as they yearn to know more about the nation that produced some of the most happening global phenomena today. Here are 5 Korean documentaries that you can watch now in order to know more about love and life in South Korea.
'My Love, Don’t Cross That River'
Nothing speaks of love more tenderly and more passionately than the story of an elderly couple that has been in love for over 76 years. There is not one soul that can watch this whole documentary without going through all human emotions possible. It is absolutely adorable, elegant, and heart-warming. One singular couple holds within themselves an entire universe and along with it comes a universal experience that every single person can resonate with. The secret to everlasting love, it seems, is in protecting the child at heart. ‘My Love, Don’t Cross The River’ is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video so next time you’re in the mood for love, watch this!
'Escape the Corset'
‘Escape the Corset’ explores Korea's feminist movement through a group of women who are actively denouncing feminine beauty standards imposed upon women by South Korean society. In the era of idols with an ethereal beauty, “normal” women are looked down upon for being just themselves and unapologetically so. In such a claustrophobic situation where one feels trapped in society's constraints, the “escape the corset” movement is posing a stern anti-establishment opposition to the norms of society and is using hair to do so. Women’s hair has always been something that the Korean society has had a say on. As such, cutting your hair short became a symbol of breaking free from that oppression and rebellion against feminine societal standards. Watch how these women broke through in this inspirational masterpiece of a documentary.
'My Name is KIM Bok Dong'
‘My Name is KIM Bok Dong’ tells of the historical journey of Korean activist Kim Bok Dong, who in 1992, reported herself as having suffered sexual slavery under the Japanese. In other words, she was one of the hundreds of “comfort women” that were brutally antagonized and tortured sexually by the Imperial Japanese Army. The documentary focuses on Kim Bok Dong’s consistent fight and struggle to get the Japanese government to take legal responsibility for the comfort women, admit its forceful nature and formally apologize directly to the victims since reporting herself as a victim in 1992. She worked tirelessly to educate people and ensure that the future generations knew of the harrowing truth of the horrors of war and prevent erasure of their struggle. This documentary is definitely a must-watch.
Ryeohaeng (meaning ‘journey’ in North Korean dialect) mixes fiction and documentary is a beautifully serene manner as it tells the story of female North Korean refugees who take on a metaphorical climb up a steep mountain. The documentary symbolizes their dangerous and incredibly frightening journey of crossing over to the South from the North as climbing up a mountain, rife with challenges, death, and survival. Approximately 30,000 North Korean refugees currently live in South Korea. The vast majority of them work in low-paying and dangerous jobs and experience difficulty adapting to the new environment in South Korea. The documentary explores the fruitful role art can play in their rehabilitation and the changing circumstances of North-South relations. You definitely need to watch this if you ever wondered what the struggle must be like to escape into a safe space, only for that to be just the tip of the iceberg.