Director Erik Matti drew flak on social media for his comment on Korean dramas, which he described as “faux Cinderella stories with belofied actors whiter than white”. His tweet has also reached the Korean media. Filipinos were quick to react that not all Korean dramas are romantic, while others even gave recommendations for him to watch, especially while on quarantine.
Clearly, the director is not well-acquainted with other Korean dramas and movies. So, we at KStreetManila decided to compile some of the best dramas and movies that are probably more suitable to his taste.
Before the influx of Korean dramas available in Netflix, the streaming platform’s first original Korean series was a horror thriller set in South Korea’s Joseon dynasty. But more than putting us at the edge of their seats, the zombies are just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the gore is the power-grabbing and manipulation that sounds eerily familiar in current politics.
One of the most underrated Korean dramas, but received buzzworthy attention for its intertwining timeline and Yoo Ah In’s stellar performance. This is a story about love for country and betrayal among comrade fighters, who resisted the 1930s Japanese occupation in Korea. The three main characters were reincarnated and their paths were entwined to find the truth in their past.
Inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders from 1986 to 1991, the lead detective time travels 30 years into the future (2016) to catch the killer who continues to commit the same series of crimes back in 1986. “Tunnel” strikes a good balance of time travel/fantasy and investigative drama.
W: Two Worlds
Don’t let the romance fool you. This 2-in-1 webtoon and live-action drama fuse horror and suspense elements, which let out a few screams while watching. The plot may be confusing since the setting is in two worlds, but we recommend watching it until the end as it will all make sense.
Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace)
Every Filipino millennial definitely knows Jewel in the Palace. Based on the true story of Korea’s first female physician, this historical drama tackles politics and one’s perseverance to do their best despite all hardships, all while showcasing the country’s rich history and culture.
Fight for My Way
Yes, not all K-dramas are “faux Cinderella stories” gushed in romance. “Fight for My Way” shows the struggles of a group of friends as they navigate their way through adulthood and economic class in South Korea. The drama also reminds us that it’s not too late to reach for your dreams or to start anew in life.
Prison Playbook will make you cry and laugh at the same time — not because of any heart-fluttering scenes — but of the different stories of each inmate. The drama also depicts what it’s like to live inside the prison and comfortably relays life lessons into the viewers’ system.
Created by the same team of Reply 1988 and Prison Playbook, Hospital Playlist tells real-life stories and struggles of medical practitioners, particularly doctors.
A movie recommendation won’t be complete without Parasite. With its amazing cinematography, gripping script, and class commentary, this award-winning film deserves all the accolades it has garnered — including the Oscars.
Train to Busan
Train to Busan is a zombie film on the surface but a commentary on social classes and morality when you dig deeper. In case you haven’t heard, the sequel is about to premiere soon! Check out the trailer of Peninsula here!
Along with the Gods trilogy
This series of films delve into the afterlife and shows how your choices in life affect those around you. We give it an A+ for its special effects.
A Taxi Driver
Based on real-life events, the film focuses on a taxi driver who unintentionally gets involved in an uprising against South Korea’s martial law government. It sends a message about the importance of democracy and keeping your government accountable.
Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 is the live-action adaptation of the controversial feminist novel in South Korea, depicting the daily struggle of a woman —from her childhood until motherhood. Women will find the story too familiar (and sometimes uncomfortable), while men will, hopefully, learn a lesson about giving women equal rights and opportunities.