The Senior Class / 졸업반 / jol-eob-ban (2016)
Directed by: Hong Deok-pyo
Written by: Yeon Sang-ho
Cast: Lee Ju-seung, Kang Jin-ah, Jeong Yeong-gi
Review: This is another mature animated film from South Korea. Although it’s a coming of age love story it has some explicit nudity and brief sex scenes. At art school, a young man becomes intrigued by a fellow female classmate and begins to like her. By chance, he discovers a secret of hers but when it gets spread and distorted, jealousy and stupidity lead to grave consequences.
The colors and drawings are very well done but as with previous Korean animated films, the animation is not fluid enough. It ultimately doesn’t distract from the story but one wonders if it’s an intentional choice or a budget issue.
In terms of the story, there’s nothing new here but it most definitely is one set in Korea with certain social norms present. The characters are believable and flawed but sometimes I can’t enjoy a movie when I think the characters are acting stupid even if it’s completely understandable. The main character is naive and essentially experiences puppy dog love. One can gradually see how this “nice guy” actually ends up doing something bad.
Regardless this is a well made movie with a solid story. It shows the potential of South Korea in the animation industry. This is worth a watch for those who like mature stories that are grounded in reality. The next screening is Monday, July 17.
The director was in attendance but I unfortunately was too tired to stay for the Q&A. There was also a Korean short film before the main feature called Lovescream which was interesting, sexual and a bit disturbing.
Seen in the theater at Fantasia film festival.