VOD Choice in March

2020-03-01 ~ 2020-03-31
VOD Choice in March
VOD Voice March, recommended by Korean Film Archive staff. This month, we bring you three films about a love triangle, family, and love in a previous life.
 

Films
  • 01. Three o'clock P.M. in a rainy day (Bi-oneun nal-ui ohusesi) Park Jong-ho, 1959
    Kim Ji-mee, an actress who starred in the film, provided many interesting details about this work in an interview last year. For example, she revealed that during the time when this film was made, the actors had to prepare their own costumes, accessories, makeup, and hairstyling for the shoot. The actress, who was a rising film star in Korea, had an elevated sense of fashion from her wealthy family background and the debut experience in the 1958 film “The Twilight Train.” For “Three O’clock P.M. in a Rainy Day,” Kim asked Taylor Park from ESMOD Design School. Based on references in foreign films and magazines, Kim Ji-mee's costumes played a major role in creating of Su-mi, a sophisticated and Westernized character in the film. The actress also had special talents in sports such as swimming, volleyball, and track and field through her schooling, and her swimming skills shined brightly in the film. She also had to learn dancing for about three days for a scene, which she emphasized was aided by her natural talents. In the interview, the actress also revealed that the collaboration was made easier by the actor Lee Min, who was an excellent dancer. 
    Hearing this story, I wondered if it is justified in simply defining this film as something that mimicked American movies. American culture had become a popular staple in Korea after the country went through the U.S. military administration and the Korean War, but it was not something that everyone could enjoy. In that sense, this film may be analyzed as an imitation of or thirst for wealth. In any case, this movie is recommended because many of its aspects can be interpreted in various interesting ways. (Lee Su-yeon, Researcher, Korea Film Archive Research & Exhibition Team)
  • 02. Festival (Chugje) Im Kwon-taek, 1996
    It is a dirty and disgusting scene. Just like sweet treats attract fruit flies, people who gather to attend a funeral drink, seduce the other sex, and gamble away the stolen funeral money; they are chastised for the debauchery as some fall onto the ground drunk and others run away with tails between their legs when they lose their gambling money. 
    “Grandma becomes old as she gives away her age, and her overflowing wisdom lets her give love to others.” 
    On the other hand, the funeral is a pure and fairytale-like affair, just as the line above alludes. The family continues on with the funeral, remembering the now-deceased grandmother. This is the plot of “Festival” (1996), a film about a funeral. 
    Figurative fruitflies swarm the funeral, but the title “Festival” is quite accurate. As such, the characters talk, laugh, cry, and fall asleep. The “Festival” is also pure and fairytale-like. The family is pitted against each other from the long history is emotions originating from their pity for the grandmother, but they soon come together in their longing for her as well. The “overflowing wisdom” turns into love.
    The funeral of thirty years ago, as shown in the film, is not the same as contemporary ones, but not entirely different, either. It is in the recent past. As the director Im Kwon-taek pointed out in an interview, the Korean funeral tradition is “undesirable,” and as such, the “fruitflies” attracted to party table is a past that must fade away. The longing for the dead shown in the event is still the same in the present day, which makes it an element that will last into the future. While the old funeral conventions are dirty and disgusting, the longing for the dead imbued in them is a pure and fairytale-like emotion that continues today and will continue tomorrow.
    “Festival” is one big party for adults who “give away age” and children who mature by receiving the age. (Lee Yong-gam, ‘Cinema on Wheels’ Coordinator, Korea Film Archive Cinematheque Team)
  • 03. The Ginko Bed(Eunhaengnamu chimdae) Kang Je-kyu, 1995
    I chose to watch “The Ginko Bed” only because it was made in the same year that I was born, even without reading a review. This movie not only kindled an interest in old films but also taught be diverse ways of love that I, a contemporary person, would never have imagined.
    “Thousand years of love” is the theme of the film. For those born in the 1990s, who are forced to live without many amorous emotions, the film is certainly a love story that does not make any sense. On a closer look, however, it shows various ways of love. The love of Hwang Jang-gun (played by Shin Hyun-jun) and Seon-yeong (played by Shim Hye-jin) is especially impressive. 
    The love of Hwang Jang-gun would be interpreted as an obsession that might result in a call to the police today. Another analysis of his love, however, is to see him as a pure man who is crazy about Mi-dan (played by Jin Hee-kyung). That kind of dedication is the source of the iconic scene still loved by many to this day in the form of the meme called “Shin Hyun-jun in the cold,” in which he is kneeling outside of Mi-dan's room in the snow to ask her out).
    Then there is Seon-yeong. She is a woman who makes a choice for the man she loves, even though she might lose her love and her life. Her love is different from that of contemporary times, when lovers act selfishly and make calculations about each other as they flirt.
    The past, when schoolboys and schoolgirls used words such as “fate” and “past life” to make sense of the fluttering emotion of love, probably still lives on somewhere in our hearts. We have merely forgotten about the feeling because we are living in busy times filled with competition. The ways of love, so rare today, shown in the film might revive the emotions that we have forgotten. (Lee Ji-won, House Manager, Korea Film Archive Film Museum)

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