21st August 2013
The Carriage Running Into Winter– Directed by Jeong So-yeong. Starring Kim Yeong-ae, Lee Yeong-ha, Kim Dong-hyeon, Kim Jin-gyu and Hwang Jeong-soon. Released January 1, 1982. 108 minutes.
I have been watching a lot of newer movies these days as this summer’s releases have been really excellent. Snowpiercer, Hide and Seek, The Terror Live!, Killer Toon.. and so on. But everyone and their uncle are writing about them. I will wait a few years to do that. Instead, I found another movie I can watch. The title seems to imply that it this movie will, like Snowpiercer, will have something to do with trains* and snow. Well, don’t get your hopes up on that score. This movie is pure melodrama.
The film starts with a depressed Yeo Yoon-hee going quickly into a flashback to the happier days that led up to her marriage with Jeong-woo. The two were deeply in love and married over her parents objections that he and his family are too poor to support them. This turned out to be true but it did not stop their happiness. Yoon-hee made ends meet by secretly borrowing from her parents to run her household. However, it was doomed to end too soon. Jeong-woo is killed in an accident…after several extended scenes designed to tug at the heart.
Widowed while still in her twenties, Yoon-hee devotes herself to her work doing what appears to be layouts at a newspaper. Through her boss, she becomes acquainted with Mr. Park who soon surprises her with a proposal of marriage. Mr Park is considerably older than Yeon-hee and she soon finds out that he is unbelievably wealthy. She remarries, again over her mother’s objections, and it again ends in tragedy. Her husband to be has a severe heart attack at the altar. She moves into Park’s house where his mother, sister and son from a previous marriage live with a number of servants. She visits Park every day in the hospital, but it is clear that the female members of Park’s family blame her for his heart attack.
Park never regains consciousness and becomes gradually worse. The only member of the household who treats Yoon-hee with kindness is Woo-seob. But there is a reason he does so. He is very attracted to her, so much so that while his father lies dying in the hospital, Woo-seob startles Yoon-hee by embracing and kissing her in the kitchen of the house. This leads to Yoon-hee running away and making a convoluted plan to kill herself in a way that it looks like suicide. However, she is tracked down by Woo-seob. After a long talk, he confesses his love for her and she agrees to go back to his home. There she falls ill. Woo-seob takes care of her and comes to Yoon-hee’s defense when a family meeting is called to turn Yoon-hee out of the house.
In the aftermath of the family row, Yoon-hee has a sleepless night. Wandering into the hallway she accidently glimpses Woo-seob butt naked. This three-second flash of flesh has Yoon-hee flee into the garden and experience a fantasy involving her and Woo-seob. The young man follows her and soon the fantasy is well on its way to becoming reality. Yoon-hee has a change of heart and runs back into the house. She realizes that she has to leave and after meeting unexpected opposition from Park’s mother, she does just that. Yoon-hee goes back to thinking about her suicide plan, when Woo-seob shows up at her door. To his surprise, she is no longer against being with him and to two spend a week or so of pure bliss together. He offers to take her away from Korea, but she refuses. The thought of the future terrifies her and Yoon-hee once again goes back to her plan of suicide.
The Carriage Running Into Winter is quite melodramatic but it is watchable. It was interesting to see Hwang Jeong-soon (Park’s mother) and Kim Jin-gyu (Park) near the end of their careers and their acting certainly is part of the reason the movie is so watchable. Kim Yeong-ae (Yoon-hee) is another. Less so is Lee Yeong-ha as Woo-seob. The movie is not available on DVD though it was at one point on VHS as the image above shows. (I far preferred it over the original poster though I use that when I index this film)
*The Korean title makes it quite clear that the movie does not contain a train. Instead, the carriage in the title refers to a horse drawn carriage. What is not clear is how that.or any part of the title.. is related to the movie at all. ..