The Throne, A Taxi Driver & more: 5 Korean international award winning movies that deserve to be seen

Oscars might be the biggest movie award show. But there are other international awards that recognise precious gems too. Take a look at our recommendations below.

Updated on Apr 25, 2021   |  03:52 PM IST  |  300.4K
Official posters of award winning movies The Throne and A Taxi Driver
Mother, Secret Sunshine & more: 5 Korean international award winning movies that deserve to be seen

With so many movies still left on your playlist, what is the best thing to do? Add award-winning movies to the list! If you end up racking your brain and scrolling indefinitely on a streaming platform, take a break. Away from the mainstream South Korean movies such as the history-making ‘Parasite’ and ‘Minari’, there are many other precious gems that the Korean industry has released. And the movies that have been, if not by the Oscars, then recognized by other major international film festivals. 

These award-winning movies have splendid cinematography, amazing screenplay, and wonderfully balance the emotions, creating a wonderful, enchanting world for the audience. With gripping storylines that will make you think twice about the meaning of life and the infinite life journeys of people, these movies are a definite must watch.  

Mother (2009)

Starting off the list with another masterpiece of Bong Joon Ho, we have ‘Mother’. Apart from having the honour to be nominated at the 82nd Academy Awards, it has also won at events like Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Asia Pacific Screen Awards and others. The plot of the film revolves around a mother, and how she builds a defence for her intellectually challenged son, after he gets accused of a murder. A wonderful movie with tragedy, love, a bit of Oedipus complex sprinkled in and fantastic screenplay, make sure to check this out. 

Secret Sunshine (2007)

‘Secret Sunshine’ has served as one of the amazing benchmarks for storytelling in the Korean industry. The story follows a woman Lee Shin Ae (Jeon Do Yeon) who starts a fresh life with her son after the death of her husband. The situations that follow, having an encounter with a mechanic Kim Jong Chan (Song Kang Ho), the disappearance of her son, and the challenges to find out the truth and battle with adversity, makes the plot extremely emotionally challenging and deep. Due to its intricate screenplay and superb acting, this movie has won many international awards including 2nd Asian Film Awards, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and was even nominated at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

Sea Fog (2014)

Sea Fog is not a light or happy movie by any means, but it wrenches emotion from deep inside your heart and pulls you into a journey that showcases suffering, tragedy, greed and corruption of humanity. The film is based on a true story of how 25 illegal Korean-Chinese immigrants choked to their deaths in the depths of a fishing vessel called ‘Taechangho’, and how their bodies were thrown out into the sea by the crew. Depicting non-fiction is not an easy task, and for this, the movie won a host of awards. From the 34th Hawaii International Film Festival, it also got a rousing reception at other events like Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, to Dubai, Palm Springs and many more. 


The Throne (2015)

To shake things up a bit, this next recommendation is a period movie. Based on true events, this movie is set during the Joseon Dynasty, under the rule of King Yeongjo. The plot portrays the multiple complications in the monarchy, having King Yeongjo subject his son, Crown Prince Sado, to be locked in a rice chest to die. The showcase of emotions like betrayal, madness, tragedy, is amazing, and lent incredible credibility to the entire production crew and actors. It won awards at the 19th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, was selected but unfortunately not nominated, at the 88th Academy Awards. It also won awards at the very own 47th International Film Festival of India, held at Goa, apart from various awards at Korea's national stage. 

A Taxi Driver (2017)

A great depiction of the human spirit and emotion, ‘A Taxi Driver’, rates as one of the best films to have come out of the Korean industry. It tells the story of an ordinary taxi driver from Seoul, who gets caught up in the Gwangju Uprising of 1980. The movie is based on the interactions of a German journalist, Jürgen Hinzpeter's interactions with the driver, whose identity was later found out, as Kim Sa Bok. A story that rises beyond even the most well-written descriptions, this movie and its intricate portrayal has made it one of the most beloved movies of all time. It was the second highest grossing movie of 2017, and still stands as the 12th highest grossing South Korean movies of all time. It was selected for the 90th Academy awards, and has won at other events like 3rd Asian World Film Festival, 21st Fantasia International Film Festival and many high level domestic awards.

Please note that the movies listed above can be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion for intense violence and erotic scenes is advised. 

Also Read: Seo Yea Ji versus Kim Soo Hyun: the serious case of the alarming wage gap amongst Korean actors

Have you watched any of these movies? Which one did you like or which one are you going to give a go this week? Let us know in the comments below!

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