Seen in Jeonju

Archive for March, 2012

Korean Films on DVD; March 18-24

17th March 2012

Last week, there were no new Korean films released on DVD.  But this week?  Well… I sent in an order before I was finished writing down the information I am posting here.  I am especially excited that the Korean Masterpiece Series is continuing with the following films:


Stars Heavenly Homecoming — d. Lee Jang-ho, starring Shin Seong-il and Ahn In-sook.  Lee’s classic film from 1974. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for ages 18+/ Format: 4:3 widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono/ Running Time: 106 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: March 22

Cattle– d. Choi Ha-won, starring Hwang Hae, Heo Jang-kang… a film from 1975. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 4:3 widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono/ Running TIme: 93 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: March 22  (see the synopsis in the index)

Village in the Mist– d. Im Kwon-taek, starring Jeong Yoon-hee, Ahn Seong-gi in an multiple award-winning film from 1982.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for ages 18+/ Format: 4:3 widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono/ Running TIme: 91 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: March 23

Unfortunately, like most films in the Masterpiece Collection, these movies are not subtitled. But don’t worry.. there are six other films being released on DVD this week! 

sunday punch

Sunday Punch– d. Park Joong-gu, starring Yoo Dong-geun, Yoon Jeong-seo.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 100 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 22,500 KRW/ Available: March 20

The Way Back– d. Steve Lee, starring Yoo Seong-il, Glena Park.  Number of discs:1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 90 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: March 20

My Heart Beats– d. Heo Eun-hee, starring Yoo Dong-sook, Won Tae-hee.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 18+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 106 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: March 20


Scars– d. Im Woo-seong, starring Park So-yeon, Jeong Hee-tae.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 64 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: March 20.

White Jungle– <documetary>– d. Song Yoon-hee, starring Park Jin-seok, Seo Kyeong-ja.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for all ages/Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 82 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: March 22 

Killer– d. Kim Jong-hyeon, starring Han Geu-ru, Kim Jeong-tae.  Not a theatrical film but a TV production made for the cable station Channel CGV,  Number of discs:2/ Rating: for ages 18+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 203 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 27,500 KRW/ Available: March 22

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The Independent: May 19th, 1896

14th March 2012

The Independent, vol. 1 No. 19

Brief Notice 

A laborious statistician computes that Queen Victoria is now sovereign over one continent, 100 pennisulas, 500 promontories, 1000 lakes, 2000 rivers and 10,000 islands.

An American journal, writing on the question of Arctic exploration says:  “To be very frank about it, we don’t want the North Pole discovered.  We have an idea, in the first place, that it isn’t much of a pole and we want it to remain hidden in its native lair to stimulate in men the spirit of enterprise and adventure, to give us something to look forward to. So long as there is a North Pole, if there really is such a thing, which men cannot find; so long as the earth keeps one spot sacred to herself and one secret which no man may know, we can still retain some littel respect for this dwindling ball. But what a petty, mean, and contemptible littel crab-apple it will be when every schoolboy in the land is familar with every rod of its surface.

Rev. and Mrs. Kenmure expect to start for Chefoo today.

Capt. C. H. Stockton, Commander of the USS Yorktown came up to Seoul Saturday for a few days visit at the Legation.

The Korean paper guild has subscribed to the Independent for all its members. We consider this a sign that Korean businessmen are alive to the importance of keeping up with the times.

A man named Ho Sik, newly appointed magistrate of Yang Chun, memorialized His Magesty affirming that “seven of the present high officials held important positions at the time of the disturbance on Oct.8th.  They should have known beforehand of the events that were to transpire but they did not prevent them. This shows their disloyalty and incompetence to hold such high positions.”  These officials spoken of are the present Minister of War, Privy Councilor, Vice Minister of Justice, Ex-Vice Minister, the Governor of Pyeng Yang, the Governor of Ta Ku, the Governor of Ham Hueng.  The Minister of War and the Vice Minister tendered their resignations but His Majesty did not accept them.

EDICT:  It has been the custom to send in resignations when one official has been criticized by another in a memorial to us.  But this is not the time to observe these useless ceremonies, therefore hereafter the officials should not send in resignations on account of criticisms of others.

Dr. and Mrs. Underwood have gone to Chefoo for a few weeks.

Mr. Komura, the Japanese Minister, had an audience with His Majesty at the Myung Ye Kung on Saturday and presented his credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister of Plenipotentiary to Korea. The usual compliments were exchanged.

Lieut. Yu Sung Won had a fight with 600 insurgents in Yang Chi district.  The latter were routed completely after a few hours’ sharp engagement.  Three of the insurgents were killed and one of the soldiers was wounded.

The Magistrate of Yong In reports that one hundred insurgents broke into the government storehouse in that place and carried away guns, ammunition and money amounting to $60.  A company of Seoul soldiers heard the report and hastening to the place, drove them away.

Two more policemen were appointedfrom the students in the Police Training School after a strict examination.

The Governor of PyengYang reports that a gambler,Yi Heung O, kicked one of his companions in the chest and killed him instantly. The case will be tried in the Seoul Court.

The Magistrate of Chang Yun reports that eleven insurgents were hanged a few days ago in pursuance of instructions from the Law Department.

The Governor of In Chun reports that the Yung Dong Po, Si-Heung district, drove out a thief named Kim Heung-bong.  A few days later he returned and raised a disturbance and threatened to kill many of the villagers.  The people got together and beat the culprit to death. The Law Department instructs the governor to give fifty blows of the lash to the head officer of the village for not preventing the trouble.

The Governorof Kong Ju reports that sixty insurgents entered the government buildings in Yang Sung, broke open the storehouses and carried away twenty-two guns, twenty pounds of powder, two thousand five hundred and seventy cartridges and one hundred and seventeen dollars in money.

The Governor of Pyeng Yang reports that two clerks in Kai Chun magistracy killed the magistrate by assault.  The Law Department has instructed the Governor to hang Yi Chung Eun and to imprison his brother Yi Sun Eun for life with hard labor.

Won Yong Sang of Seoul, propietor of a tobacco stand on the broad street was arrested on the charge of robbery and after trial was sentenced to imprisonment for life with hard labor.  He was punished for a similar offence eight years ago. Hence the severity of the sentence.


To use an anatomical figure, the open ports are the breathing holes of the nation’s commerce. Keep them shut and commerce will be like a polar bear in winter in his nest under the snow, dormant, hybernating.  Open them up and the blood of the nation begins to circulat, the pulse becomes vigorous and strong and achievement of any kind is possible. It has probably been noticed by many that the present open ports of Korea are not so situated as to do the most good for Korea. When they were opened it was because these places had a sort of recognized standing; Chemulpo as the port of Seoul and Fusan as the ancient point of contact between Japan and Korea and Wonsan because it was the only available port on the eastern coast. Let us inquire briefly why these ports are not all that might be desired.  The important considerations to be held in view in the selection of ports are—

(1)  Does it give the easiest access to the largest area of productive territory.  Judged by this standard we cannot say that any of the present ports are ideal ones. None of them are easy of access form the interior. At none of them is there water commmunication inland, and water communication is of prime importance in a land without roads as Korea practically is.  None of them is near the largest areas of productive country. Fusan is as far as possible from the rich farming territory of the province in which it is situated. Chulla Do has no port whatever although the richest of the provinces in exportable produce.  Chemulpo is neither near Chang Chong Do nor Whang Hai Do but just between and reached only by sea from those places.  Wonsan is quite well situated for Ham Kyung province but probably a dozen other places  in Korea would have given a larger return for the money invested.

(2)  Does the place have a good harbor?  In this respect, both Fusan and Wonsan are delightfully situated, the scenery is beautiful and one could not ask a securer harbor, but if the government should spend even a cool million in making a harbor in one of the many indentations of the Southern coast, the proceeds would better warrant the expense than the choice of Fusan did.  It may be hard to make a good harbor in the mouth of a river because the shifting channels and silt deposits, but an ugly mouth with something in it is better than a handsome one unfilled.  As for Chemulpo we have neither the river mouth nor the quiet harbor; as the port of Seoul it is important, however.

Of course there is nothing to be said against the present ports. They are there and there they will remain but we do hope that the time will soon come when we shall see the great North opened up with a port near Pyeng Yang and the great South with a port at Mak Po.  It may be that a joint Korean and Chinese port at the mouth of the Yalu would be of great value as opening value as opening up the valley of that great river. It would give opportunity to guard against smuggling across the border, a practice that has cost Korea many a dollar in the past.  If a Russian railroad is built through Manchuria, such a port would be of vast importance, as being the entry port of  large qunatities of goods form that source. History has a good deal to say with such questions as this.  It was history that put the ports at Chemulpo and Fusan if not at Wonsan as well.

We have heard it said that a port at Mak Po would be useless because there is no town there. Open it and in a month there will not be a rod of land within a radius of a mile that is not bought up.

One of the greatest acts of injustice that China perpetrated in Korea was the keeping of Pyeng Yang closed to foreign trade. Its opening is of prime importance because it is the outlet of certain kinds of produce not found largely elsewhere, especially lumber and coal.  It may turn out that Pyeng Yang coal is not good steaming coal, though we imagine it has not been given a fair trial, but even if so it would take its place in the markets of Tiensin, Chefoo, Shanghai and the Korean ports as a magnificent stove coal and thus would prove a great blessing to foreigners as well as a considerable source of income to the government. It seems to us that every month that Pyeng Yang is kept closed is doing an injustice to the mostvigours, enterprising and successful portion of Korea.

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Trailers for new Korean films opening March 15

13th March 2012

This coming week, we have four new Korean films opening this week.  The first is Gabi, a film dramatizing the “Coffee Pot Plot” … an assassination attempt on the life of His Majesty King Gojong in 1897… (The trailer says 1896, but the murder attempt is covered in the Independent and talks place the following year).

One of my favorite directors returns with a new movie this week. Jeon Soo-il eighth film is Pink, centered on a bar on the coast and its patrons.

Home Sweet Home is directed by Moon Shi-hyeon and stars Kim Yeong-hoon and Yoo Ae-kyeong.

Also returning to the big screen this week is actor Bong Tae-gyu in Byeon Seong-hyeon’s new film Youth Groove.

Other movies opening this week include The Vow, Freerunner, Seeking Justice and Chronicle from the USA, Flying Sword and Dragon Gate and 1911 from China, and My Back Page and Keibetsu from Japan.

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Korean Box Office: March 9-11

12th March 2012


With the start of the new semester and my new position at the university, I really hope I do not fall too far behind on posting.  This one is about seven hours later than I would have liked to have it up  But here it is.  Helpless did pretty well… I would say attendance was exceptional but it was enough to land the mystery in the number one spot.  Another new movie, John Carter, landed in second and the pair of these films pushed the former number one movie, Love Fiction, down to third.  With this weekend, Dancing Queen reached just over four million viewers but won’t get too many more as it drops out of the top ten, while Nameless Gangster still has a chance to reach five million.

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Index to Korean Films, 1970s: Joo Dong-jin

10th March 2012

Joo Dong-jin is far better known as a the founder and Executive Producer of Yeonbang Movies but he was also briefly a film director in the 1970s.  He directed 8 movies during this period. The info on most of these was already uploaded, but here are the remaining three. Just click the thumbnail and expand to view the full-sized image. You can see the information on his other films, as well as those of other directors, by clicking the tab marked “The 1970s” at the top of the page.  Because there were only three movies to be listed here, I also included the single film of director Joo Yeong-jeong. 

joodongjin1974 loveeachother, joodongjin1974 luck, joodongjin1974 storyofmadpainter,jooyeongjoong1978 unsettlingafternoon

Up next: Kang Beom-goo and Kang Dae-ha

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The Independent: Saturday, May 16, 1896

7th March 2012

PB2603111Brief Notice

The insurgents in Che Chun were driven out by Seoul soldiers and went to A San where they met another body of Government troops and a sharp engagement ensued.  Four of the rebels were killed and six captured.

The Nichi Nichi states that Cannibals in the South Sea refuse to eat Japanese because, they say, the flesh is too sour. <The Nichi Nichi was a Japanese-language newspaper published in Tokyo between 1872-1943. tom>

Marquis Charles de Rudini, only son of the illustrious Italian Premier is now travelling in China and Japan.

A St. Petersburg dispatch dated the 9th states that the Novosti says Japan should by this time know Russia’s feeling in regard to Korea, that while she does not wish to be there herself, she will not permit any other power to be predominant in the Hermit Kingdom. ” The King,” continues the Navosti,”is perfectly fit to rule and when restored to the throne the Russian troops will retire.”

The Madrid correspondent of the Standard says that the new chamber elected on the 12th will certainly support the Government in resisting American interference in Cuba.

Cholera is rapidly spreading in Calcutta and Bangkok and is causing many deaths.

Sir Andrew Noble, the great artillerist, a partner in the firm of Lord Armstrong & Co., is visiting Tokyo.

The Empress-Dowager of China is believed to have regained her influence in the palace, since she has successfully overthrown Wang-tung-ho, the tutor of the Emperor, who together with the Censor impeaced Li Hung Chang in 1894. The Empress-Dowager has procured the perpetual retirement of the Censor.

The Japanese paper in Chemulpo called the Chosen Shimpo in speaking of Korean Government officials, calls them by their given name and omits the family name. For instance, Pak Chung Yung is called Chung Yung.  We have no space to give in teaching this sheet what good manners are but we hope the habit will not grow on them or soon they may be calling the English Colonial Secretary “Joe” the President of the US, “Grover” and their own sovereign “Micky.”

Grace: I must refuse him, poor fellow, but I wish I could do something to lessen the pain.   Maud: Get some one to tell him that you haven’t as much money as he thinks you have– Brooklyn Life.

Lamps should be filled every day and chimneys should be washed once a week. To procure a perfect light, every lamp should be provided with a new wick once a month. Just before lighting, rub the body of the lamp carefully so that there will be no smell of oil.  A little salt put into the lampwill do away with any disagreeable odor there may be.

He: I would kiss you if I thought no one would see me.   She: Shall I close my eyes?– Woonsocket Reporter.

On May 5th, the mail carrier to Su Wun, Kong Ju and Chun Ju districts was met by a band of robbers in Jiji Tai, Su Wun, and lost six letters.

Capt. Kim Myung Whan reports that the insurgents in Hyo Yang and Kim Sung districts now number 900 and it is impossible to disperse them with the force at his command. He has asked for reinforcements.

Capt. Yung Whan reports that the leader of the insurgents in Kim Wha, Sin Chang Son, was captured and shot on the public road.

A Japanese policeman lost $2.10 and an official document on the street. This was made known to the Korean Police Department. Yesterday a Korean policeman found the the man who picked up the package and recovered the money but there was no sign of the document with it. This was communicated to the Japanese police and the owner gave the money back to the Korean who found it. The diligence of the police and the generosity of the Japanese in this case are both to be commended.

The Governor of Han Heung reports that 1700 insurgents have established their headquarters at Hak Po Sa, An Pyun.  Japanese troops went to the place and drove them away and burned the village. During the engagement nine of the insurgents were killed and fifty houses were burned.

The Seoul court passed the death sentence on five robbers yesterday and they were hanged the same day.

A wealthy Korean lost his pocket book containing $440 on the street in front of one of the silk stores at Chong No. A boy named Yi Chong Ok found it and brought it to the Independent and asked that the owner be found if possible.  The owner called at the office yesterday, received the money after giving proof of his ownership, and the boy was rewarded with sixty cents.


Among the many civilizing agencies that of general education holds a leading place and yet of all agencies, it is the slowest to show striking practical results.  Its power is due to the fact that it reaches back into a man and makes some soli repairs in his mental substructure which sooner or later are sure to make their appearance either in the form or durability of the superstructure. For the same reason it is that the external or visible results are slow in making their appearance.  They have to work out from the inside and it takes time, but when these results do become apparent they are doubly valuable because they indicate that the whole fabric is permeated with that same good quality.

There is hardly any branch of reform in which a people like the Korean might more easily become discouraged than in that of general education. Immediate practical results are demanded and if the superficial signs of quick fruition are lacking enthusiasm is checked and the cause of education receives a blow.

Until recently the Korean government has not been thoroughly right in regard to this matter and for years the cause of education dragged along as best it. In 1884, His Majesty projected a school a school for teaching English and through that of various branches usually included in a school curriculum.  In 1886, the scheme was carried out and the work began under the direction of three foreigners. We are told that almost immediately it appeared that the government desired to have men educated in two years.  In other words it wanted simply interpreters. This was not only the desire of the government but was the advice given to the government by more than one of the foreigners in high position under it. This being the case, the school, it seems, was turned into an interpreter mill with the result that the cause of education was immensely damaged; the wrong idea was inculcated that education was a matter of turning out a certain number of English speaking men a year, rather than giving men a thorough rounded elementary education.  It is a matter of great congratulation that a change has been effected and it was the China-Japan War that made the change possible. Today we see a thoroughly equipped and prosperous school because in back of it there is a real itelligent educational impulse in the government, because the men connected with the Educational Department know what an education is worth.

The time has now come when Korea should adopt a national system of education.

To do this several things are necessary. First it needs a full set of educational works translated into the Korean.  Here there is an utter lack at present. There is no arithmetic, no general history, no geography suited for a general text book, no history of Korea itself.  Having equipped itself with these essentials it should found provincial schools, six or eight perhaps, and make them feeders to a central school or college located in Seoul. As time goes on, schools could be founded in the magistracies which would be feeders to the provincial schools and so by regular steps, a full system could be worked out. It would have to be done gradually and carefully; Koreans would have to be found capable of taking these provincial schools in hand, a normal department would be necessary, in fact the whole apparatus and machinery of such a system would need to be set in order.  In a short time the national feeling heretofore expressed in the form of the quagga or competetive examination whould be diverted into this new channel and it would become a settled institution.  The magistracies would be able to support their own schools and the national budget would contain appropriations only for the central college and perhaps a number of scholarships in the provincial schools.

Get Korean to understand that preferment of any kind depends more on his capacity than on his family name and soon we shall see here what was seen in Japan, an impulse toward education that was simply overwhelming.

–The Independent, Vol. I, No. 18

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Trailers of Korean Films opening March 8th

6th March 2012

There are many Korean films getting released this week in theaters and this is due to The Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) making some of their students’ films available through limited screenings.  Four of the seven movies opening are courtesy of KAFA.. Let’ start with them…
First is the animation The Dearest which starts its trailer with the brief sentence “Eun-shil is Dead”

The next is Choked and this trailer has English subtitles to make it easier to follow along

Mirage, the third offering from KAFA, one a prize at the 5th Seoul Digital Film Festival.

Sympathy for Us– which looks at the lives of characters the trailer calls ‘losers’ (and which seems like it might be pretty funny) is not on Youtube. However, you can see the trailer here:

Helpless is getting a wider release. It stars Lee Seon-gyun and Kim Min-hee. Based on a Japanese novel, a man begins to realizes that he did not know everything about the woman he was going to marry before her sudden and mysterious disappearance. Whoever uploaded it to Youtube, listed it as Train, but the official name is Helpless

Romance Joe stars Kim Yeong-pil and Shin Dong-mi.. this trailer also has English subs. (Frankly though, I don’t think this trailer was well put together… you’ll see what I mean)

Finally there is a documentary called Talking Architect.

These films are going up against the following films: Stanley’s Tiffin Box (India), John Carter (USA) and Genya, Chained Girl (Japan)

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Korean Box Office: March 2-4

5th March 2012

Well, the new semester has started and my free time seems to have evaporated.  I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with my usual posting schedule, but it may be difficult, especially on Tuesday… but I think I will be able to handle it once I am in a routine.  Anyway, below we have this weeks box office which contains quite a few changes.


Love Fiction, a film starring Ha Jeong-woo and Kong Hyo-jin, bumped Nameless Gangster out of first and, because of the second place film This Means War, the former number one movie landed in third place though it may yet reach five million viewers before it fades from the box office charts. Even though it is in number 1, a close friend warned me away from Love Fiction saying that it starts out just fine for a romantic comedy but goes much too long. He mentioned that by the middle of the films 120+ minute running time he and his girlfriend were bored and many people in the theater had started taking out their phones and were texting. Romantic comedies are not usually films I am interested in anyway but I would have considered seeing it because of Ha Jeong-woo before I heard my friend’s review. I will save my pennies until later in the week when Helpless opens.  More on that and the other films opening in theaters this week in tomorrow’s post.

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Korean films on DVD: March 4-10

3rd March 2012

silencedThis week we have only one new Korean DVD being released, but it’s a good one.  Silenced, directed by Hwang Dong-hyeok and starring Kong Yoo and Jeong Yoo-mi, was one of the surprise hits of the year. Number of dsics: 2/ Subtitles: Korean, English and Korean Sign Language/ Rating: ages 18+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 125 minutes/ Suggested Retail Price: 27,500 KRW/ available: March 8

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Themselves (2011)

2nd March 2012

themselvesAlthough Themselves was released just last year, chances are that you have not heard of it.  It is a low-budget film that received a very limited release. I was interested in seeing it because of actress Ko Soo-hee.  You may remember her as the woman who cooked and ate her husband in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and more recently in a supporting role in the film Sunny.  Her performances have always been memorable and her characters are interesting, even when just playing bit parts. I looked forward to seeing her in a leading role.  I was far less familar with her co-stars..The first is Jeon Ji-hwan aka Jay who plays the blind Tae-seong in this film.  “Jay” is a singer in a struggling boy band, The Boys of Super Space (DaeGuk Nama) that has been around for a while and has released two albums, but has not yet made it big. This is his first film. The other main character is played by Kim Jin-yi whose last film was Rush back in 1999– a film I owned on VHS at one point but for the life of me I can remember nothing about it…   I was not familiar with director Yoon Tae-shik either as he had only two short films to his name prior to Themselves.  So the presence of Ms Ko was really the only reason I was interested in this film.  Unfortunately, while her acting is as excellent as always, it was her character that was the only problematic area of an otherwise satisfying film.

Oh– before I continue, I should warn you that this review will contain spoilers. However, as the DVD does not contain English subtitles, I do not think the majority of the readers of this site will have the opportunity to be exposed to this film and will need to worry about them.

The movie begins when Jin-yi reaches a breaking point and steals a car belonging to the lover of her two-timing boyfriend who has left her pregnant and alone.  It was not a premeditated crime and she really has no idea where she is headed when she accidently runs into a blind young man who was crossing the street in the middle of the night. Shocked at what she has done, Jin-yi offers to take Tae-seong to the nearest hospital to treat his injuries, but his reaction is one of fear, followed by a strange trance-like state that she gives in to his pleas not to go and treats him herself with bandages. Out of guilt, she agrees to take him where he wants to go… but he keeps extending the length of their journey until they are well out of the city.

Due to Jin-yi’s chronic problem of not watching the road while driving, we are introduced to Soo-hee who, like Tae-seong, is struck by the stolen vehicle. Soo-hee is a boxer who has fallen in love with her handsome coach.  However, because of her appearance and the fact that her trainer does not really think of her as a woman, she is afraid to confess her feelings. Her emotional state has become so depressed over the belief that she may never find love, that she has decided suicide is her only option.  She travels with Jin-yi and Tae-seong for a day and after a night of drinking, attempts to kill herself, but she is found by her new friends and revived.

From this point, the three begin to trust and open up to each other and realize that none of them are what they appear to be on the surface. All except Tae-seong. They learn that his older brother is after him with some unsavory character and are attempting to take him to the hospital against his will. Jin-yi and Soo-hee never question why, they just do their best to protect their new friend… and in one of their cases, her new lover… from the threat Tae-seong’s brother seems to present. 

That fact that Tae-seong never trusts them or is completely honest is one minor fault I had with the screenplay as the other characters reveal themselves as the English title of the films implies they should, but as I mentioned in the first paragraph, I had a larger concern. It concerns how Soo-hee was depicted by the script and camera work. The theme of this movie asks us to look beyond what we see on the surface to see the true characters of the people onscreen. Jin-yi is not simply a bar girl who has been knocked up. Tae-seong, in one surprising moment (I literally caught my breath when it happend) indicates he might not be completely visually impaired. And Soo-hee is more than a massive athlete and is at heart a scared, lonely woman.  However, her size is where the film reaches for the rare laugh and it is misplaced.  Her fight scenes against gangsters and Jin-yi’s cheating boyfriend are slowed down with her ’comically’ slow, deep roars of anger sounding like a bellowing bull than an angry human.  The point of this film was to humanize the characters and I felt she was not treated with the same respect at points in the film as the other two leads were.

However, that is not to say it is a bad film.  It is in fact, quite good and I enjoyed watching it. I especially liked how the script gave such depth to each of the characters and the director was able to pull layered performances out of the actors.  I look forward to what Yoon Tae-shik has in store for us in the future.  He has shown the potential to be a great, dramatic director who possesses the skill to create character-driven films.  It is just too bad that the lack of subtitles will limit the number of people who can see and understand this film.

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