Yay! Finally yummy news of sik! Make sure you check out Ah In’s music picks, too.
“I just watch everything. The same goes for music and movies too — I’m not picky.” Like he said so of himself, actor Yoo A-in is not fussy about the movies he watches. One moment he will sympathize with the intensity of love shown in “Between Love And Hate” (2006) and the next, start questioning the boundary between dream and reality in film “Inception” (2010) and the depth of truth, criticism and mindset of people with “Sicko” (2007). He will then go wild over the sentiment shown in “2046” (2004) and at the flashy action sequences in “Swordsman II” (1991), making it all the more harder to figure out what this actor is about. His taste is almost like himself in the way he takes on unpredictable paths in TV dramas to movies.
Betraying the cheerful and innocent aura expected of a young actor who debuted through teenage drama “Banolim 1” (KBS, 2003) he then immediately hinted to his unpredictability by appearing as Jong-dae in film “Boys of Tomorrow” (2006) who gets pushed around by others and becomes desperately in need of a gun in order to be strong. In contrast to Jong-dae who was lost in a tunnel of despair, his other character Hyun-gyu from “He Who Can’t Marry” (KBS, 2009) was a pathetic guy who cries out for free love but will quietly stick out his point-accumulation card to take the purchasing points for himself. A mild and meek city boy equipped with charm and wit but lacking in boldness — that was how Yoo brought about the full image of young people nowadays.
And that is why the Moon Jae-shin (nickname: Geol-oh) from historical drama “SungKyunKwan Scandal” (KBS, 2010) he portrayed seemed awkward. For Yoo, who could laugh and easily bare his emotion even as he acted out a sad and tragic character, Jae-shin, who repressed the anger he felt toward his father and the world, his grief toward his dead brother and his love toward his female school mate, was not an easy character to work with. It was only after Jae-shin laughed and cried, after having been trapped in his own pain, that both Jae-shin and Yoo were ‘able to break out of their shells.’
For the time being, it may be better not to judge this actor who calls himself a “tiny actor” and is “scared of others regarding me as something big.” The popularity and stardom from “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” that added to his reputation will hardly provide as a peak into who he is now nor what his future will hold. Rather, it would be a pleasant surprise to just wait and see how everything unfolds — just like the way he enjoys movies. “I believe the worst habit you can have with watching movies is trying to reach a conclusion or look for a clear ending. If you can step away from such a view you will get to appreciate more things from the movie.
1. “Between Love And Hate”
2006 | Director: Kim Hae-gon
“My all-time favorite among melodramas was originally film ‘Closer’ (2004) but this movie touched me even more than that. What this movie tells you is not about how bleak reality is but that love isn’t all just about the pretty things, that it’s okay if it’s not pretty because that is love too and that is what reality is about. Although the love that you see in movies isn’t common, I’m sure it’s happening somewhere in the world. This is a movie I keep watching repeatedly these days as well, thanks to the cable channel. Whenever it’s on, I find myself watching it over and over again instead of changing the channel.” (laugh)
A romantic date and a lovely confession is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of romantic films. However in “Between Love And Hate” which has dodged those two formulas, there is nothing light about the romantic relationship in it. Just like many relationships which begin lightly, as if you’re flirting, leave an unforgettable mark in one way or the other.
2010 | Christopher Nolan
“This was the most impressive of the all movies I’ve seen recently. It really suits me because I always think like that too — that this may not be the reality. (laugh). That’s why I also liked “Matrix” (1999). I constantly have doubts about this world that I live in, imagining things like ‘I may be dead already and this might just be a dream,’ just for fun. (laugh) ‘Inception’ seems to have done an excellent job expressing something that one may imagine once in a while. I especially like the car-crashing scene and was completely amazed at the way it expressed the time difference between the dream and reality.”
The world in “Inception” which made use of every little experience people have about dreams to build up an elaborate mechanism that forms the basis of its story, is solid in plot as well. The rule set up by director Christopher Nolan dominates the movie completely leaving viewers to be fully assimilated into that world. Are you absolutely certain that you are awake, right now?
3. “Josee, The Tiger And The Fish”
2003 | Isshin Inudo
“I used to say that if I get to do a love story I would like star in a movie like ‘Josee, The Tiger And The Fish.’ This was the movie I have long regarded as the best because it wasn’t just about love all over the place but about people who are in romantic relationships. When in love we usually talk as if it is love that drives things but in truth, it’s really about what an individual feels. Oh, and the last scene was really good too, by not ending it with a pretty scene it all the more lovely. It was beautiful because it was honest and it left lost love as it is and moved on.”
Instead of using a dramatic ending or an unexpected twist to wrap up the story, director Isshin Inudo captures the moment young adults grow up considerably through small changes in their everyday lives. The camera that shows the back view of Josee (Chizuru Ikewaki) who is no longer cooking fish for the two, but for herself only, shows that she has well gotten over the breakup to be on her own.
2007 | Michael Moore
“There is a trap even to documentary films like ‘Sicko’ that criticize society. The film tells you to doubt things but doubting itself can be kind of a blind faith to follow. I believe the important thing in watching this film is to take time to observe things and try to be open-minded in seeking the truth. Instead of simply going ‘Huh? So September 11 terror was fabricated?’ you need to keep on questioning and widen on your scope of thinking. I believe artistic films need to contain the spirit of the times and more so for documentary films since it confronts issues more directly.
The influence the United States has over the economy, politics and military of the whole world is truly impressive. In contrast to such status it has, the medical insurance system in the country is beyond par, ruled by insurance companies and hospitals that refuse to treat penniless patients with a medical history while the government is tied down by their lobbying. Director Michael Moore delved into that issue to divulge the truth in a lively but thorough manner.
2007 | Wang Kar-wai
“I like director Wang Kar-wai’s movies so much. Although ‘Happy Together’ (1997) was the first thing I fell in love with, I tried to choose between ‘In the Mood For Love’ (2000) and ‘2046’ (2007) and decided on the latter for my final recommendation. I think I’m a buff for grand things. (laugh) The film itself was difficult, of course. I couldn’t understand everything by watching it just once but I wholeheartedly respect the world of director Wang. This is the story that truly has no answer. The film seemed to be formed completely of leftover feelings which are hard to conclude on anything. Recently there seem to be people who try to undervalue Wang due to his other film ‘My Blueberry Nights’ (2007) and I feel sorry for him for that. They seem to think the poor achievement he saw from that one single film represents the fall of the great director. But it’s impossible for that film to represent his vast world.”
Top Asian actors and actresses including Zhang Ziyi, Kimura Takuya, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and Gong Li appeared in this cult-like film. That alone proves how much respect Wang has garnered through the world of his movies. “2046,” an omnibus style movie, portrayed couples who stay with each other because of love but continues to wander in souls, unable to understand each other completely.