Seen in Jeonju

Invited Pinocchio (1987)

9th January 2010

Originally posted November 13, 2007–High school student Na-yeong comes from a troubled family. Her mother often comes home late and leaves Na-yeong to fend for herself. Her father is frequently drunk and loudly boasts of his time in Vietnam. When her parents are together, there is continuous, sometimes violent, fighting.  Perhaps this is the reason that she seems so withdrawn from her friends in school. While all the other students are socializing between classes, Na-yeong sits alone reading or composing letters. She has developed a crush on singing star Shin Dae-cheol (second from left in the picture above), a singer in the popular hard rock band Shinawe.  In one horribly embarassing moment, a letter she has written to her idol is taken from her and read in the front of the class. But Na-yeong doesn’t really care as long as she knows that her idol, or as she calls him her ‘god’, understands her and possibly even loves her.

Knowing, as rabid fans often due, when her favorite stars birthday is, she makes her way down to the recording studio where she believes he will be with a present for Dae-cheol. She meets the band’s manager who informs her that the singers are not there at the moment. While he is looking at her, the manager is polite, but as soon as he turns his back–not even waiting to be out of earshot–he starts complaining about fanatical fans and wondering out loud where the security is in the building. Although she does not leave the present at that time, Na-yeong receives an invitation to a concert that appears to have been sent by Dae-cheol whom she has written frequently. On the day of the concert, Na-yeong dresses beautifully and prepares to go out to expecting to meet the man she loves from afar.

Invited Pinocchio, (misspelled Pinokio on the box of the newly released DVD, My Beautiful Short Films 3 but accurately spelled in the credits of the film where the original English title is revealed to be Pinocchio Gets An Invitation–why was it changed? I don’ t know), was directed by Oh Seok-geun who would go on to make such films as The 101st Proposal (1991) and Love Is A Crazy Thing (2004). The film is easily understood by anyone who has gone through their teens and developed impossible crushes on celebrities. It features the band Shinawe which was formed in 1986 and continues to play to this day–nearly a third of this film’s 15 minute running time is devoted to footage of an actual concert by the group. 

The film itself is not bad but there is one thing that has kept me wondering. Why is Na-yeong refered to as ‘Pinocchio’?  After thinking about it, I decided that it must be because the heroine does not feel as if she is a real girl.  Her actions at school are wooden and mechanical and the care she puts into her preparations to meet Dae-cheol show how much she really does yearn to be real.  But though Na-yeong is ‘Pinocchio’, it is up to you to watch it to see if Dae-cheol is her ‘Blue Fairy’ that will make her dreams come true.

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