You've arrived to the perfect location if you're a hopeless K-drama romantic looking for a vacation from fake utopian love stories. Apart from swoon-worthy rom-coms, Korea has a lot more to offer, especially if you want to branch out from your usual viewing habits and try your hand at violence, tragedy, and mystery. Surprisingly, some of their best are inspired by true stories.
1. Northern Limit Line (2015)
This film depicts genuine events from one of North Korea's many confrontations, the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong, which took place in the Yellow Sea on June 29, 2002. The film begins while the rest of Korea focuses on the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which is being held in South Korea. Meanwhile, the North Korean Navy takes advantage of the situation by sending spies beyond the naval demarcation line and into South Korean land.
2. Silenced (2011)
Sexual assault is not something to be taken lightly. Before becoming a junior high school, Gwangju Inhwa School served as a welfare centre for deaf-mute kids. Sexual assault and physical abuse among the young kids were commonplace and kept hidden until one of their faculty members chose to report it to the police. Several victims came forward, while others remained silent because to the terror generated by these professors. Unfortunately, the unfairness persisted, as several of the perpetrators were simply released with only minor penalties.
3. Han Gong Ju (2014)
This film is based on the events that occurred after the infamous Miryang Gang rape in 2004, in which 41 male students sexually raped multiple high school females over the course of 11 months. After being blackmailed with videos of their own rape, the victims were forced to remain silent. Though some of the rapists were apprehended, they received only minor punishments and were not charged criminally. Many people were disappointed that the Korean government treated this case lightly and just compensated the victims for their rights violations.
4. As One (2012)
Despite their ongoing political feuds, North and South Korea were once able to put their differences aside for a shared cause. Deng Ya Ping of China defeated delegates Hyun Jung Hwa of South Korea and Li Bun Hui of North Korea in the 1991 World Table Tennis Championship in Chiba City, Japan. They intended to overcome China's women's team by acting as one united Korean team. The film primarily depicts how the two sides came together and became true allies after learning to set aside their rivalries and personal aspirations.
5. Way Back Home (2013)
Jang Mi Jeong, a Korean housewife guilty of smuggling 17 kg of cocaine into France, inspired the film Way Back Home. The narcotics were concealed in a bag of unpolished gemstones brought by her husband's buddy without her knowing. She was detained and imprisoned for two years in Martinique, France, due to a lack of competent and prompt protection from the Korean foreign affairs ministry.
6. Cart (2014)
Cart is based on a nationwide strike that occurred in 2007. Sun-hee, a dedicated mother who supports her two children, is the central character of the film. When Sarah and the other temporary employees at the store learn that they will be laid off soon, they band together to conduct a strike against the supermarket.
7. Hope (2013)
Hope is a reinterpretation of the controversial Cho Doo-soon case, which involved the rape of an 8-year-old girl known as Na Young to the general public. Cho Doo-soon, a serial sex offender with a history of physical aggression, abducted and raped the young girl on December 11, 2008. Na-Young was discovered comatose in a church restroom after being raped, assaulted, and drowned. She was admitted to the intensive care unit with a variety of internal and exterior injuries and underwent an eight-hour surgery.
8. The Whistleblower (2014)
The Whistleblower, another drama based on true events, is based on the well-known case of Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk. The notorious clone expert was found guilty in 2006 of fabricating his research papers and embezzling government cash. He was first examined after an anonymous tip from a coworker arrived in the hands of an MBC producer, who exposed his deception on the Korean reality show PD Notebook.
9. Memories Of Murder
"Memories of Murder," another gripping crime narrative, is based on the true story of South Korea's first serial killer. Despite the fact that it is not mentioned in the film, ten women were found killed in Hwaseong between 1986 and 1991. However, the film focuses on the two detectives assigned to the case who were unprepared to handle the situation.
10. The Chaser (2008)
The dark thriller chronicles the pursuit of a serial killer by a dishonest former police officer who has run into financial difficulties. The hammer-wielding serial murderer character is based on a real-life serial killer who targeted women before being apprehended by police. Fun fact: Prior to his arrest, the true killer was apprehended but released because authorities mistook him for a petty thief!