It’s no secret that the entertainment industry is male-dominated, especially in South Korea. This includes directing, singing, and even entire story plotlines. While most K-Dramas are centered around women (mostly due to romantic plots), movies have often had less of a chance. However, in more recent years there has been an influx of female-centric films being made.
How do we get more? By supporting the movies! Not only that, but it’s almost the end of Women’s History Month! So why not dive into the many stories of women in Korea? Here we have 8 female-centric Korean movies to get you started on finding more films empowering women!
1. Her Story
In 1991, Busan, Bae Jung Gil (Kim Hae Sook), who had been working as a housekeeper for Moon Jung Sook (Kim Hee Ae), suddenly disappears after Kim Hak Sun (a real historical figure) confesses to being a comfort woman to the world. Jung Sook eventually finds Jung Gil hiding in her son’s house and discovers that she was once a comfort woman. She decides to help the victims by running a report center. In 1998, after 6 years, they face the verdict of the Shimonoseki trial.
2. Girl Cops
Park Mi Young (Ra Mi Ran), who used to be considered the Major Crimes Unit’s top cop, is now stationed behind a desk after having a baby. One day, her sister-in-law Jo Ji Hye (Lee Sung Kyung) joins her team and they bicker all the time. When a woman gets run over in front of them, they team up to find the truth.
High school student Hye Ji (Kim Go Eun) is a troubled teen with a secret. After going missing for 10 years, she is dramatically reunited with her grandmother, Gye Choon (Youn Yuh Jung) who is a diver on Jeju Island.
Im Na Mi (Shim Eun Kyung and Yoo Ho Jung) remembers her childhood friend Ha Chun Hwa (Kang So Ra and Jin Hee Kyung), who was the only one who befriended her when she transferred, welcoming her into a group called “Sunny.” Together, they survive school in the ’80s and vow to be together forever. Now a housewife with an ungrateful teenage daughter and a stale marriage, Na Mi lost touch with her old group of friends due to time. One day, while visiting her mother at the hospital she finds Chun Hwa, who is terminally ill. As the two reminisce, Chun Hwa asks Na Mi to bring the group together one last time.
Kim Moon Ok (Na Moon Hee) was a music professor at a university but is now on death row for committing a crime caused by the abuse of her husband and mother-in-law. In prison, she meets a girl named Hong Jung Hye (Kim Yoon Jin) who killed her husband due to abuse. When she was arrested, Jung Hye was pregnant and eventually gave birth in prison. The baby must be given up for adoption due to her being imprisoned. Jung Hye creates a prison choir group with Moon Ok as the conductor to be able to spend one day with her baby outside of prison.
6. As One
This movie recounts the true story of the first unified Korean team that competed at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in China. South Korea’s table tennis star Hyun Jung Hwa (Ha Ji Won) and North Korea’s Li Bun Hee (Bae Doo Na) have each been defeated by China’s “Ping-Pong Witch” in the final round. Forced by politicians to team up as the first united team, Jung Hwa and Bun Hee experience conflict and mistrust as they slowly build their friendship and prove themselves.
7. A Little Princess
Mal Soon (Na Moon Hee) is a tough old woman in a rundown neighborhood in Busan. 12-year-old Na Gong Joo (Kim Soo An) appears at her door with her baby sister on her back. Gong Joo claims that she is the daughter of Mal Soon’s runaway daughter and Mal Soon’s life soon dissolves into hilarious chaos.
Based on a true story, Sun Hee (Yeom Jung Ah) is a mother of two children and works at a retail store as a cashier. Hye Mi (Moon Jung Hee) is a single mother and Sun Hee’s co-worker. Also at the store is Sun Rye (Kim Young Ae) who works as a janitor, and Dong Jun (Kim Kang Woo) who is the only male member of the labor union. Suddenly, workers are laid off at the store and they begin to stand up to the company.