17. My Beautiful Girl, Mari
Behind the United States and Japan, South Korea has the next biggest animation industry in the world. Unlike those two titans of the medium, though, Korean animation gets very little international attention, perhaps in part because the industry is better known for subcontracting work from overseas productions (most of the animation for The Simpsons is done in Korea, for example).
Occasionally, however, a Korean animated gem does make it to an international release and 2002's My Beautiful Girl, Mari is one such film.
An elegiac coming of age story, My Beautiful Girl, Mari involves two childhood friends reconnecting as adults in Seoul and looking back on a magical summer in a fishing village where dreams and reality seem to meld together.
Light on narrative, My Beautiful Girl is rather a film which focuses on mood and atmosphere. Director Lee Sung-gang used computer animation to mix simple 2D characters on sumptuous 3D backdrops and create a set of dreamlike pastel-coloured visions like light shining through marbles and a storm over a fleet of fishing boats.
Poignant and full of heart, My Beautiful Girl, Mari suggests that we should be seeing more from Korean animation than we currently are.