by Wiam Najjar, October 27, 2015

Schools in Korean Dramas and Film;

Part 6

See You After School



School life is no different from real life, it’s a jungle. You’re either a predator or a prey. But, the difference between humans and animals is that humans can choose to rebel, no matter how small their chances of winning are.

The high school film centers on bullying and the suffering of bullied kids. They spend their school time being picked on, having their money stolen, getting beat up and having no friends. Though the film is mainly on bullying it touches on the importance of grades in society, appearances, teachers as role models, sexual fantasies, dating and the search for identity. The film is touching and at the same time funny.

My Girl and I


*In the middle of hating the universe and all its unfair actualities*

In the age of searching for identity and questioning the universe.. when love governs all.. when fate and lasting love is the ultimate belief.. in that age of innocent feelings and hopeful approach to life.. why would death strike and ruin their happy years? Teenagers who do not yet know who they are, or who they want to be, are faced with the great injustice of death. Life is just like that; a bitch.

Plum Blossom


What is the reason behind the loss we feel? High school boys ask. They start looking for answers. They think it is sex and they head that way. That route causes them more loss, more depression, more pain and more confusion.

The film is an account of the youth’s search for THE way, for answers to their many questions, for hope, love and happiness and for serenity. It tackles high schoolers’ first sexual experiences; first kiss, first sex, masturbation, etc.. It presents the issues of sex without love and love of a minor for an adult.

The film is dark and hopeless ���except for the last scene.. Seems like they were afraid the audience would wreck the cinemas-. The raw presentation is right to the point. Not for everyone. Many explicit scenes and one unfamiliar side of Kim Rae Won –not complaining.. just warning-.



Another dark account on the monstrous effect of seeking good marks in Korean high schools. How society and parents aid the students to become merciless mark-machines. To score high marks and get into elite universities, students are willing to bully, blackmail and even murder. Humanity disappears in front of the insane goal. And once the students cross the line of no return, all is lost.

The film might sound dramatic and unrealistic but based on what I’ve read and watched so far, it isn’t. So sad that the world only acknowledges those who academically top their classes regardless of how human-trash they are.

My Boss My Hero


I started it expecting a comedy and ended up watching a tragedy. That was tough. In a society that defines education in terms of college and only college, high school dropouts are never forgiven, even if they’re gangsters. The film stresses out insolvable issues in Korean high schools. The gap between the true meaning of education and the materialistic one is shown. How money and connections are the conditions for receiving ‘’education’’. We see violence, sexual harassment, bullying, grade manipulation, prostitution to get into college, which leads us to the issue of skyrocketed college fees and much more. Too many fighting scenes to convey the real state of schools in South Korea, where teachers have lost their respect and students their motivation. Where you rot in school but never end up with anything because money and power are the decision makers, not your effort, not your abilities and definitely not your dreams.

Steel Cold Winter



Just like its title. I didn’t expect such a dark film. But it was so convincing I couldn’t judge or blame. A raw story on rumors and how awful the sequences of rumors can be. Two high school students face false rumors uttered carelessly and both lives are ruined. People don’t care about the truth. They don’t care to listen. And they don’t give a damn about those young people. A prejudice leads to doubt, doubt to rumor, rumor to fact, fact to judging, judging causes traumas, traumas would lead to either suicide or crime and sometimes both. When one is already labelled by society, other people would use them more because they know they’ll get away with it. You can’t call for help because nobody will listen, much less believe.

More than one Korean work used the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and the mass killing of alive hogs. Here it was used brilliantly as a metaphor for ‘’contaminated’’ people. It’s okay to burn them alive!




Wow! What great performances! Heart throbbing music! And lovely voices!

A drama on the pain of adolescents and their escape to love. We’re shown each student’s scars and the story behind them. Each one has their own pain; being abandoned, betrayed, bullied, lonely or having a 'spectacular' background. The troubles of the age added to society and family’s expectations. Unable to heal their own wounds, they stretch their hands out and finally someone takes their hands. Music, love and friendship as healing are what the drama presents. At the sensitive age of 18, the world seems like a huge hell with the future totally blocked, the present stressful and the past taken over both. But, there’s always hope.

Tree of Heaven


Applause for Lee Wan. He was the whole drama.

The drama is about one insane and just terrible inhumane love story. It starts budding in high school. We see the characteristics of the age. That conviction of the whole world’s conspiring on them, the feelings of abandonment and loneliness, rebelling against existence and the obsession with the only way out, the only person who believes in them; the only refuge.

Changing the environment and how it affects teenagers as well as bullying are presented. Well, this time it takes place in Japan.

The Crucible


You know that moment when it hurts so bad that you start laughing hysterically?! That is my moment now. I’ve simply watched The Crucible.

The play with the same title was not any better by the way!

Works based on true stories should be banned. Yes we feel all the disgust for humanity while we watch/read fictional work. But the effect of something that had actually happened on this planet, something that happened in a time where we were probably enjoying our life, something that might have happened to us. That weight of ‘’it might have been me. It might have been someone I love.’’ That agonizing epiphany that we reach every time. So the world is actually this dreadful! Humans are really this appalling. The world has seriously come to this! Those epiphanies hit us only when it’s a true story.. and The Crucible is one.

Those who call me a pessimist or a misanthropist better slide straight to hell. A misanthropist! When there are ‘’people’’ exploiting children physically and emotionally because they were abandoned by the world. It was not enough that they had disabilities, that they couldn’t live ordinarily, that they came from poor backgrounds or had no families at all and that the world had already shown them all its bilious secrets. In the name of religion and education, they annihilate lives because they’re sick. They rape and assault, kids. Pedophiles walking about with heads high preaching God! Child molesters walk away with their crimes because they have money and power, because money buys everything. Those beasts celebrate ‘’Justice’’ while the miserable children will never be able to move on. Schools! Education! Get stuffed! I’m ashamed of being a teacher right now. I’m terribly ashamed of being in the same category with those pathetic excuse for human beings! Teachers should not.. damn I can’t. I need to stop right here.

My Boss, My Teacher


My Boss, My Hero was rather a darker and more intense account on the corruption in the educational organizations. Its sequel My Boss, My Teacher tackles the same issues but in a funny way, keeping the seriousness of those issues in check.

The world is changing rapidly causing a generation gap. Older people can’t seem to keep up with the pace, but at the same time refuse to get ridiculed by the younger generation. In that busy world where technology and the internet solve it all, money-lovers don’t seem to get enough. In the name of education they fill their pockets and their desires. They manipulate the marks of the rich and get their money while verbally and physically abusing the powerless.

The film is about the moment of enough. When all stand out against corruption and injustice. That moment is more of a hopeful dream, hoping that one day we’ll try to stop the world from changing us.

The drama/film world don't seem to get enough of school works, neither do we. See you in another part.