However many Koreans followed that advice, they could hardly have made “Gangnam Style” the first YouTube video to reach a billion views by themselves. A study conducted by researchers at Eötvös Loránd University, in Hungary, determined that it spread across the world not directly from Korea but outward from the Philippines, where there already existed an avid fan base for things Korean. In Manila, one finds everything from Korean cosmetics on its shelves to Korean dramas on its televisions. The intensity of the product placement on these shows can at times reduce them to what Youjeong Oh, in her study “Pop City: Korean Popular Culture and the Selling of Place,” calls “a collage of commercial advertisements without a solid narrative.” In the early years of this century, hallyu hits showcased Korea’s new affluence in a more or less uncomplicated fashion. Yet this was also the heyday of the movement known as New Korean Cinema, and the discomfiting-to-harrowing work of its auteurs—Kim Ki-duk’s “The Isle,” Lee Chang-dong’s “Oasis,” Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy”—suggested that all was not well in the land of the morning calm.