A Short Love Affair (Umugbaemi-ui salang) (1990)|
Director Jang Seon-Woo
Production Company Mokad Korea Co., Ltd
Date of Rate 1990-02-26
Date of Theatrical Release 1990-03-31
Running Time 114 min.
Opening Theater Myeong Bo Theater
Writer Park Young-Han
Screenplay(Adaptation) (Jang Seon-Woo, Lim Jong-Jae)
Producer Kim Young-Jun
Director of PhotoGraphy Yoo Young-Kil
Gaffer Kim Dong-Ho
Music Lee Jong-Ku
Park Jung-Hun, Choi Myung-Kil, Yoo Hye-Ri
Bae Il-do (Park Joong-hoon), who is in his late twenties, has been unemployed for a while. When he finally gets a job at a skirt-making factory in Umukbaemi, a quiet country village on the outskirts of Gyeonggi-do, he leaves Seoul with his family to settle there. While working at the factory, he falls in love with Min Gong-rye (Choi Myung-kil), who sits at the sewing machine next to his. On the day he receives his first paycheck, he and Gong-rye take the night train to Seoul. They spend the night at a motel, where they confirm their love for each other. When their affair is discovered, they leave their respective homes and move in together in Seoul. Feeling jealous and betrayed, Il-do's wife (Yoo Hye-ri) follows their trail tenaciously and ascertains the illicit couple's whereabouts. She forcibly drags her husband back home, separating him from Gong-rye.
"The first film to usher in a renaissance for Korean movies in the 1990s" (Lee Se-ryong)
A Short Love Affair is the second movie by director Jang Seon-woo, who opened an era of resurgence for Korean movies with The Age of Success (Seong-gong sidae) in 1988. Unlike his first film, which mocked capitalism using an exaggerated style and an allegorical storyline, A Short Love Affair enlists the techniques of cinematic realism to portray the desperate love shared by two marginalized individuals. Some critics even regard it as "the best of Jang Seon-woo's works" (Han Hye-suk). In this film, the director "endeavored to pursue a new cinematic form and content from the basis of a realist aesthetic." After coming up against the limits of an allegorical, expressionist aesthetic in Seoul Emperor (Seowul hwangje, original title: Seoul Jesus) and The Age of Success, Jang Seon-woo attempted a new aesthetic through the merging of "Koreans' traditional artistic sense and Western realist philosophy."
By following the love story of its two protagonists, A Short Love Affair realistically represents the lives of the lower classes, who were alienated in the course of urbanization and industrialization. In this movie, "the impoverished village of Umukbaemi on the outskirts of Seoul is not just a backdrop that stands back from the story like a painted screen, but is dissolved in the very characters and narrative" (Yu Ji-na). Using honest visuals, lines that seem freshly lifted from real life, and vital characters who resist reduction into "metaphor," Jang Seon-woo infuses the lives of his protagonists with keen realism. The love between Il-do and Gong-rye, who are unable to find stable identities whether in society or at home, is poignantly depicted but not glorified, and the frank portrayal of the people around them, who constantly get into arguments and indulge in foul language, prohibits cheap sentimentalism and sympathy toward the poor. These characters simply live their given lives, just as we do. Il-do and Gong-rye have their own reasons for carrying on a love affair; likewise, Il-do's wife has her reasons for dragging her straying husband home by his hair. The movie resists facile value judgment. Instead, it quietly brings the audience into the lives of the characters, to laugh and cry with them. And, underneath it all, we gradually come to recognize the director's compassion for those relegated to the bottom of society and the spirit of criticism that indicts the marginalizing forces of urbanization, modernization and, ultimately, capitalism itself.
Director Bio: Jang Seon-woo (1952- )
As a film critic in the early 80s, he introduced realism in filmmaking by advocating "exciting camera," as well as "open movie." He co-produced Seoul Emperor (Seoul hwangje) in 1986 and made his directorial debut in 1988 with The Age of Success (Seong-gong sidae), initiating the New Wave in Korean cinema. Although his movies were variegated, - dealing with issues of sexuality, capitalism and history - because he showed an unhindered view of reality in his movies, he was always labeled as a realist. His most important works include A Short Love Affair (Umugbaemi-ui salang) (1990), The road to race track (Gyeongmajang ganeun gil) (1991), The Avatamska Sutra (Hwa-eomgyeong) (1993), To you from me (Neo-ege naleul bonaenda) (1994), A Petal (Kkoch-ip) (1996), and Lies (Geojismal) (1999).