Several Korean movies like ‘Old Boy’ and ‘Train to Busan’ have received international acclaim. Kudos to filmmakers like Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, who have introduced the world to some of the most incredible pieces of cinema. Korean drama ‘Parasite’ is now the frontrunner for the Oscars, so it comes as no surprise that even the most casual moviegoers are starting to trawl through long lists of other promising Korean movies. Even so, erotica, which is one of the most key genres in Korean films, still remains unexplored by most international viewers.
Korean erotic thrillers are both seductive and thrilling in equal measure as they first allure you with their carnal appeal and then eventually leave you with a lesson or two on how sex can often be dangerous (to say the least). There have been several iconic moments of intimacy in the world of cinema and we have previously made a list of the ones that were the best of the 21st century. However, today, in this article, we are listing down the best Korean sex scenes of all time.
10. The Scarlet Letter (2004)
‘The Scarlet Letter’ is a renowned K-drama that also has also influenced several other popular suspense thrillers. But more than anything else, the film also managed to spark a lot of controversy because of its “tinge” of eroticism. Soon after the release of the film, there were speculations that one of its scenes were so graphic, that as soon as it reached the eyes of the public, one of the lead actresses, Lee Eun-Ju, committed suicide shortly after completing the project. This particular scene takes place in the trunk of a car and is far being titillating in any way. It is, instead, a grisly reflection of human frailties.
9. B.E.D (2012)
What can you expect from a movie that literally spells out “BED” for you? As the name of the movie suggests, ‘B.E.D’ is an erotic thriller that revolves around the lives of three individuals B, E and D. B lives a rather scandalous life and for him, it all “begins on the bed and ends on the bed”. E is a married woman who is having an extra-marital affair with B. And finally, D is a career-oriented woman, who is also a faithful wife to B.
The film has several scenes with full-frontal nudity and explicit “implied” sex. It has far too many sex scenes than one would initially expect and there isn’t one particular scene in the film that stands out amongst the rest. From a story standpoint, it may not really offer much, but you can just ditch that side of it and simply focus on its thrilling scandalous scenes.
8. Thirst (2009)
Director Park Chan-wook brings in a unique blend of horror, culture, and taboo with ‘Thirst’. It revolves around the forbidden passionate relationship mentally challenged Jong-du and Gong-ju, who suffers from severe palsy. This seemingly genuine relationship evolves from sexual assault and holds up a mirror to the negligence of the two wards from their respective families. In some ways, all the twisted sexual relationships portrayed in ‘Thirst’ also serve as allegories to the ugly side of Korean society.
7. Natalie (2010)
The title of the film itself refers to a famous nude piece by sculptor Jun-hyuk, so it comes as no surprise that ‘Natalie’ has some of the most groundbreaking and realistic sex scenes of the Korean cinema. The opening scene of the film itself is strikingly obscene and makes you realize that you’re in for one hell of an erotic thriller. Overall, ‘Natalie’ was not so well-received by most viewers but to an extent, its sexual provocation very well makes up for the lack of its intrigue.
6. Lies (1999)
‘Lies’ is another contentious Korean film that revolves around the sadomasochistic between a man in his 30s and a young 18-year-old schoolgirl. There are many different films (in Hollywood especially), that haven’t shied away from portraying BDSM in a myriad of ways. While most regular movie-goers would be familiar with the ‘50 Shades’ franchise, it has got nothing on ‘Lies.’ The entire premise of ‘Lies’ is so controversial that the author of the novel, on which the film is based on, was sent to prison for publishing something so bizarre. All is fair as long as filmmakers manage to achieve their vision, however, as artistic as it may seem, the seemingly unsimulated sex scenes of ‘Lies’ come off as porn.
5. Obsessed (2014)
The premise of ‘Obsessed’ is somewhat similar to that of Hollywood’s ‘The Aftermath.’ A South Korean colonel, who is very well known for his feats of bravery during the war, falls in love with the wife of his Captain. Soon, he gets her attention and a passionate yet scandalous relationship ensues between the two.
One of the most memorable scenes of the film is when the Captain’s relationship with his wife begins to wither and she starts spending a lot more time with the colonel. The two of them find themselves trapped inside a car one day, while it drizzles outside, setting the perfect mood for the inception of their romance. And before they know it, they start making out and have sex in the front seat of the car.
4. The Housemaid (2010)
‘The Housemaid’ centers around Eun-yi, a poor Korean woman, who is forced to work as a domestic servant at Hoon Goh’s luxurious residence. While she works there, she soon learns that Hoon’s word is taken extremely seriously by all those who work under him. With this, she soon ends up becoming a victim of his seduction and complies with it even after knowing that he has a pregnant wife. In the events that follow, she is forced to face the grim consequences of her actions.
The pivotal sex scene of the film is the one that marks the beginning of their slanderous relationship. Hoon walks up to Eun’s room with a bottle of wine and she is instantly able to comprehend his true intentions. As he begins to seduce her, she initially feels a little reluctant and uncomfortable with the act. But eventually, she, too, gives in to the temptation. This scene does not go all the way with its depiction of sex but paves the way for the overarching plot of the film.
3. The Taste of Money (2012)
On the outskirts of Seoul, a huge mansion accommodates one of the richest families of South Korea. The head of the family is a prominent businessman but it’s his wife who controls all the internal affairs of their home. Baek also has a personal secretary who handles frequent illegal activities that threaten their business and he also hopes that someday, he’ll get the opportunity to be as rich as his employers. But all it takes is one spark to disrupt the power distribution inside this household and what follows is a tale of lies, slander, and deceit.
Like most political dramas out there, ‘The Taste of Money’ not only uses sex scenes to arouse a viewer but also uses these as a plotting device that reflects on the psychology of its characters and their skewed hunger for power. There are several sex scenes sporadically spread all throughout its runtime. But there is this one scene that proves to be both provocative and hilarious. Two leading characters of the film get this sudden surge of sexual energy while they’re on an aircraft. Before anyone can notice them, they secretly move to the washroom together and make love without even completely stripping. While the rest of the world struggles to join the Mile High Club, ‘The Taste of Money’ makes it look like cake.
2. The Isle (2000)
Directed by Kim Ki-Duk, ‘The Isle’ is a critically acclaimed drama known for its grotesque yet artistic scenes. The film is set near a remote lake that lures many fishermen from distant lands. Young lass Hee-jin runs her own bait and sleeps with these fishermen to get by. Hyun-shik, another one of those fishermen, commits suicide and is saved by Hee-jin but when he attempts to make any advances towards her, she rejects him. Following this, he tries to kill himself by swallowing fish hooks but Hee-jin saves him again and even nurses him back to health. As their relationship grows, Hee-jin becomes more obsessive and begins to kill anyone who threatens their relationship in any way.
In the backdrop of a watery landscape, ‘The Isle’ relentlessly portrays sex scenes that are edgy and disturbing. It is the kind of film that creeps under your skin and stays there for a while, but it is certainly not for the weak-hearted. There is one sex scene that features a couple making love in the confinements of their home and initially, it even seems to be quite tantalizing. But with a gruesome twist, an intruder breaks into their home and murders them. Apparently, the closing scene of the film is so terrifyingly irrational, that it completely defies what we know about genital anatomy.
1. A Frozen Flower (2008)
‘A Frozen River’ is an erotic period drama that is set during the Goryeo Dynasty and is loosely based on the life of Gongmin of Goryeo. For the most part, the film is not historically accurate but it very well brings to life an entire era of Korean history with its vivid imagery and a brilliant cast of characters. Even sex scenes of the film perfectly serve its purpose. Although almost all of them are quite graphic, they are only involved in its storyline to portray the growing and dwindling emotions of all the characters. So regardless of what you’re looking for, be it a classic that takes you on a journey to a whole new world or just an R-rated movie with some bold nudity, ‘A Frozen River’ is a must-watch.
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