Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Once in a Summer

Cast: Lee Byung Hun (Yoon Sok Yong, 윤석영), Su Ae (Suh Jung In, 서정인)
Director: Cho Keun-sik (조근식)- Conduct Zero


Korean Official website
Festive Films website

'Once in a Summer' is Lee Byung Hun and Su Ae's latest moive. It screened in Korea in November last year and will show in Singapore on 1st February.

Yoon Sok Yong is retired professor. One day, he is approached by one of his ex-student to appear on their TV programme. He recalls his first love and the 10 days they spent together. Slowly, through flashbacks, we get to know of this bittersweet love story in the midst of turbulent times.

Yoon is a rich urban kid. Despite his friends' involvement in the political situation, his interest lies more in girls and fun. Bored and trying to escape from a strict father, he went on a charity project in a village with his friends.

One day, he heard singing in a decrepited house...that's when he met Jung In.

Jung In is a cheerful, sweet librarian with a sad past due to her parents. Yoon is drawn to her because she is unlike any of the girls that he's met.
Slowly, (mainly through a lot of walks and involving lots of water Haha!) they fell in love.

But 1969, the year when man landed on the moon, was also a politically chaotic time in Korea. Caught in a student uprising, they were interogated brutally by the securities. Yoon managed to escape being jailed through the influence of his father. In desperation, he begged his father to help Jung In.

'What is best for Yoon?'

Jung In knows what she must do and so she chose to leave him.

Now 57, Yoon is in poor health and wishes to see Jung In before he dies.

Does he get his wish? As they say, watch the movie.

I've always like Lee Byung Hun, the actor. He is one truly versatile actor. From Harmonium in My Memory, to Bungee Jumping of Their Own to JSA to Addicted, he has acted in a variety of roles and I have thoroughly enjoyed almost all of them. The only exception was Everybody has Secrets, which I thought was a waste of this talented actor's time. Of course, he is best known for his drama, Beautiful Days with Choi Ju Woo. And he wasn't even supposed to be the main lead for that drama in the beginning. But that's another story.

Lee Byung Hun can be gawky and sexy depending on the situation. My teacher, who was his translator when he was in Singapore, said that he really oozes with sexual appeal which comes from his self confidence. (Btw, she saw him in his bathrobe......alright, stop drooling. She didn't see anything else. hehe)


However, I wasn't very fond of Su Ae as I did not find her very appealing in Love Letter. I have yet to watch Haeshin but I heard she's ok in it. (Btw, did you know that she was also in MISA?). So I was a little apprehensive.

But I really enjoyed this movie due largely to the performace and chemistry between the 2 leads.

Korea is expert at love stories, especially sad love stories. But sometimes they get too weepy and too melodramatic. I still cringe when I recall Song Hae Gyo's dying scene in My Girl and I. That is what I call too much.

The film is filled with many light hearted moment but thankfully they were not too silly. Even the romantic moments were not too saccharine filled, which I was really glad too. Under these light hearted moments belies a seriousness of the political situation then. Eg, when all the villagers had to learn the basic military drill, even though it was rather funny to see the simple villagers going into 'action'.

The interogation in the jail scene was I think a testament to Lee Byung Hun's acting ability as we see his torment, fear and anguish in that important turning point.

Did I cry? A little towards the end.

I read the box office wasn't great in Korea. No doubt the hype and attention on Rain's movie didn't help. Or perhaps it wasn't sad enough? But for me the strength of the movie is because it wasn't over melodramatic. I don't need to see a dying scene to feel the love and grief between a couple. Sometimes, less is more. And though some people would see it as a sad movie, I see it as a rather sweet, warm movie. The 10 days were probably the best days of their lives, something that they remembered for as long as they alive.

Jung In:
'When I'm sad, I remember the times with you. Let's only remember the sweet memories.'

And so, though I felt a little teary-eyed, a little sad, I also felt a certain warmth.

However, I must complain about the 'make-up' of Lee Byung Hun as a elderly professor. Aiyoh, it's so bad and made him look so weird. The heavy make-up was so obvious.

The other thing I would like to comment is the posters. I know it's supposed to be about 첫사랑 (first love), hence the sweet poses and the white clothes. They are very nice and yet somehow... I seemed to have seen them before....

A case of deja vu?


Now if I was given a choice, I would rather have any of these below. I think they convey the feelings of youth, innocence, first love and an unforgetable summer better.


I couldn't really remember any particular Korean song in the movie unless you count the one that Jung In was singing. And she was so out of tune, I couldn't figure out the tune. But the English song...ahhh.. that was one great song. It's Yesterday, When I was Young by Roy Clark

I know the LBH SG fan club is organising a private screening. Fantastic!

Once in a Summer mv

Jos has also just blogged about this movie

Beautiful Days
Bungee Jumping of their Own
Everybody has Secrets
Harmonium in My Memory
Love Letter
My Girl and I

Quite nice hor:

1 comment:

mrs a said...

Tiffany, I feel the same about
G S, and then I started thinking it could possibly be the writing and directing especially with Se7en's acting. The writing is very poor and way too similiar. I think I am going to wait until he is in another drama to form an opinion on his acting.

Luv your site!