Thanks to Psy and the constant replay of Gangnam Style (which was recently just declared the second most watched video on YouTube EVER), the world now knows that there's much more to Korea than kimchi and electronics companies. Finally, westerners are seeing this other, hipper side of the country that Korea's neighbors discovered long ago. Korean pop culture, particularly its music (K-pop), TV shows, and and cinema have become increasingly popular around Asia and in Europe over the past decade or so. This trend, also known as the Hallyu Wave has become a big export of Korea and is one of the primary reasons tourists flock to Seoul, the Hollywood of Asia, on a regular basis.
Although music may seem to be the bigger component of The Wave, Korean cinema has become increasingly recognized and celebrated around the world. Just recently, the Korean film Pieta took home the win at the Venice Film Festival. The Thieves was just proclaimed to be the most popular closing night film ever at the International Hawaii Film Festival. Even Hollywood is getting in on the Korean film action. Oldboy, a controversial revenge film, is currently being remade by Spike Lee and is expected to come out in October of next year.
Although I have always been a fan of foreign films, I didn't get into Korean films until I moved here. I've seen my fair share of them via MySoju, a web database of Korean movies and TV shows that can be streamed with English subtitles. I have, for the most part, been impressed with the ones that I've seen. Romances tend to be a bit cheesy (with inevitable endings of cancer or amnesia) but dramas and horror flicks are done quite well. I've also learned a lot about Korean culture in addition to some useful phrases through these movies. Still, watching the films on a 10 inch netbook with the occasional error or freeze leaves something to be desired. Fortunately, I, along with other foreigners in Korea, no longer have to rely on the internet to get our Korean film fix.