Here you will find some of the most prolific Korean directors who have worked, and who are currently working, in the industry. Below features a selection of each director’s most critically acclaimed films, however for a full filmography, as well as a brief biography, please click on the picture or director’s name.

Bong Joon-ho (봉준호)

Bong Joon-ho (봉준호)

Director Bong Joon-ho (봉준호).

Acclaimed for: Snowpiercer (설국열차) (2013)Mother (마더) (2009), The Host (괴물) (2006), Memories of Murder (살인의 추억) (2003)

Bio: After making several short – and highly regarded – films, Bong Joon-ho made his feature-length directorial debut in 2000 Barking Dogs Never Bite (플안다스의 개). However the film did not perform well at the box office, and was generally considered a flop. Three years later however…

Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈)

Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈)

Director Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈).

Acclaimed for: The Thieves (도둑들) (2012), Jeon Woo-chi : The Taoist Wizard (전우치) (2009), Tazza: The High Rollers (타짜) (2006)

Bio: Director Choi Dong-hoon is arguably the most commercially successful director working in contemporary Korean cinema. After a stint working as an assistant director under director Im Sang-soo, Choi Dong-hoon debuted with The Big Swindle…

Choo Chang-min (추창민)

Choo Chang-min (추창민)

Director Choo Chang-min (추창민).

Acclaimed for: Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자) (2012), Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다) (2011), Lost in Love (사랑을 놓치다) (2006)

Bio: Director Choo Chang-min has steadily worked his way up through the film industry, initially working as an assistant director on several films before helming short film The End of April in 2000. Following The End of April’s success, Choo Chang-min went on to direct Mapado (마파도) in 2005…

Hong Sang-soo (홍상수)

Hong Sang-soo (홍상수)

Director Hong Sang-soo (홍상수).

Acclaimed for: Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (누구의 딸도 아닌 해원) (2013)In Another Country (다른 나라에서) (2012), The Day He Arrives (북촌 방향) (2011), The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well (돼지가 우물에 빠진 날) (1996)

Bio: Hong Sang-soo is one of the most internationally recognised Korean directors working today, with his work often featuring in competition at film festivals around the world. Ironically however, director Hong’s artistic sensibilities…

Im Kwon-taek (임권택)

Im Kwon-taek (임권택)

Director Im Kwon-taek (임권택).

Acclaimed for: Revivre (화장) (2015), Chihwaseon (취화선) (2002), Seopyeonje (서편제) (1993), The General’s Son (장군의 아들) (1990)

Bio: Legendary director Im Kwon-taek (임권택) has directed over 100 films during the span of his still-ongoing career, beginning in 1962 with his debut feature Farewell to the Duman River (두만강아 잘 있거라). Since then he has been at the helm of several productions every year, working under military dictatorships…

Im Sang-soo (임상수)

Im Sang-soo (임상수)

Director Im Sang-soo (임상수).

Acclaimed for: The Housemaid (하녀) (2010), The President’s Last Bang (그때 그사람들) (2005)A Good Lawyer’s Wife (바람난 가족) (2003),

Bio: Director Im Sang-soo is one of Korean cinema’s most risque directors, a reputation earned through his frank and uncompromising exploration of sex, power and corruption, particularly in the social elite…

Jang Hoon (장훈)

Jang Hoon (장훈)

Director Jang Hoon (장훈).

Acclaimed for: The Front Line (고지전) (2011), Secret Reunion (의형제) (2010), Rough Cut (영화는 영화다) (2008)

Bio: Director Jang Hoon was once a protege of internationally renowned director Kim Ki-duk, working together to produce Rough Cut (영화는 영화다) which examined the postmodernist concerns of ‘reality’ and ‘constructed reality’. Much to the chagrin of Kim Ki-duk…

Kang Je-gyu (강제규)

Kang Je-gyu (강제규)

Director Kang Je-gyu (강제규).

Acclaimed for: My Way (마이 웨이) (2011), Taegukgi [Brotherhood] (태극기 휘날리며) (2004), Shiri (쉬리) (1999)

Bio: Director Kang Je-gyu holds the distinction of being one of the contributory factors to the inception of the Korean Wave. While The Gingko Bed (은행나무 침대) was his directorial debut, it was…

Kang Woo-suk (강우석)

Kang Woo-suk (강우석)

Director Kang Woo-suk (강우석).

Acclaimed for: Moss (이끼(2010), Silmido (실미도) (2003), Public Enemy (공공의 적) (2002)

Bio: Kang Woo-suk is arguably the most powerful man in the Korean film industry. Throughout his illustrious career he has operated in a variety of roles, not only as a writer, director and producer on a plethora of films but also in founding Cinema Service, a film production and distribution company. Cinema Service was extremely successful, however…

Kim Han-min (김한민)

Kim Han-min (김한민)

Director Kim Han-min (김한민).

Acclaimed for: The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량) (2014), Arrow The Ultimate Weapon (최종병기 활) (2011), Handphone (한드폰) (2009)

Bio: Director Kim Han-min made a reputation for himself as a filmmaker to watch with his directorial debut Paradise Murdered (극락도 살인사건) in 2006While it didn’t break any records, the mystery/thriller film reached number one at the time of it’s release and displayed the potential of the up-and-coming director. Kim Han-min followed with another…

Kim Ji-woon (김지운)

Kim Ji-woon (김지운)

Director Kim Ji-woon (김지운).

Acclaimed for: I Saw The Devil (악마를 보았다) (2010), A Bittersweet Life (달콤한 인생)(2005), A Tale Of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련) (2003)

Bio: Direcor Kim Ji-woon is one of the most internationally recognized directors to come from Korea, due to his whimsical and refreshing takes on generic conventions. Winning a screenwriting competition, Kim Ji-woon…

Kim Ki-duk (김기덕)

Kim Ki-duk (김기덕)

Director Kim Ki-duk (김기덕).

Acclaimed for: Arirang (아리랑) (2011), 3-Iron (빈집) (2004), Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring (봄, 여름, 가을, 겨울 그리고 봄) (2003)

Bio: Director Kim Ki-duk is without a doubt the most prolific and recognizable Korean director. This is not without irony however, as while he enjoys international success – particularly at festivals – domestically he is often snubbed by audiences. The reason for such opposing audience reaction is due to…

Lee Chang-dong (이창동)

Lee Chang-dong (이창동)

Director Lee Chang-dong.

Acclaimed for: Poetry (시) (2010), Secret Sunshine (밀양) (2007), Oasis (오아시스) (2002), Peppermint Candy (박하사탕) (2000)

Bio: Director Lee Chang-dong is arguably the most consistently excellent visionary within the Korean film industry. Originally working as a novelist and achieving acclaim in the field, Lee Chang-dong turned his attention to writing screenplays. His directorial debut came in 1997…

Lee J-yong (이재용)

Lee J-yong (이재용)

Director Lee J-yong (이재용).

Acclaimed for: Actresses (여배우들) (2009), Untold Scandal (스캔들 – 조선남녀상열지사) (2003), An Affair (정사) (1998)

Bio: Director E J-yong (also known as Lee Jae-young) won awards for several short films before debuting in 1998 with An Affair (정사). The film was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the most popular films of the year and introduced director E as a filmmaker of considerable merit. An Affair was also responsible for…

Lee Jun-ik (이준익)

Lee Jun-ik (이준익)

Director Lee Jun-ik (이준익).

Acclaimed for: Sunny (님은 먼곳에) (2008), The King and the Clown (왕의 남자) (2005), Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield (AKA Battle of Hwangsanbul) (황산벌) (2003)

Bio: Lee Joon-ik previously worked as a producer, but established himself firmly in the industry as a director in 2003 with the release of Once Upon a Time in a Battlefield…

Lee Myeong-se (이명세)

Lee Myeong-se (이명세)

Director Lee Myeong-se (이명세).

Acclaimed for: M (M (엠) (2007), Duelist (형사) (2005), Nowhere To Hide (인정사정 볼 것 없다) (1999)

Bio: Director Lee Myeong-se has achieved auteur status through his ingenious use of colour, cinematography, and innovative technical prowess. His films are incredibly artistic in nature and often cross the boundaries between mainstream and art-house cinema. While other directors strive for greater realism, Lee Myeong-se posits, “What is film?” and…

Lee Song Hee-il (이송희일)

Lee Song Hee-il (이송희일)

Director Lee Song Hee-il (이송희일)

Acclaimed for: Night Flight (야간비행) (2014), White Night (백야) (2012), No Regret (후회하지 않아) (2006)

Bio: Lee Song Hee-il is Korea’s most prominent queer filmmaker. Openly gay in a country where homosexuality is still considered taboo, director Lee Song is credited with making gay issues more mainstream through his debut, the independent film No Regret (후회하지 않아), in 2006. The drama was very well-received upon release, and was one of most successful indie films in Korean cinema history…

Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기)

Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기)

Director Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기).

Acclaimed for: Come Rain Come Shine (사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다) (2011), My Dear Enemy (멋진 하루) (2008), This Charming Girl (여자, 정혜) (2004)

Bio: Director Lee Yoon-ki is acclaimed within the Korean film industry as a director who specializes in constructing incredibly sensitive and poignant portrayals of everyday life. Director Lee’s style is based in realism and often features long takes of significant length…

Park Chan-wook (박찬욱)

Park Chan-wook (박찬욱)

Director Park Chan-wook (박찬욱).

Acclaimed for: Old Boy (올드보이) (2003), JSA – Joint Security Area (겅덩경비구역 JSA) – 2000

Bio: Director Park Chan-wook is not only one of the most commercially successful Korean directors, but also helmed the…

Ryoo Seung-wan (류승완)

Ryoo Seung-wan (류승완)

Director Ryoo Seung-wan (류승완).

Acclaimed for: The Unjust (부당거래) (2010), The City of Violence (짝패) (2006), Arahan (아라한-장풍 대작전) (2004)

Bio: Director Ryoo Seung-wan is a director with a keen interest in brotherhood, the depiction and nature of violence, and how such violence in youth can lead characters into either a life of crime or alternately joining the police force. Combined with his postmodernist philosophy…

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