Two kids and their divorced father move into their grandpa’s house. They are soon joined by the their aunt (the father’s sister) who worries about grandpa since he is quite old.
This is a slice of life drama that’s slow moving. Nothing of real interest happens and there’s no real plot. Perhaps the daughter Okjoo could be considered the main character as we certainly see her the most but it’s still largely an ensemble cast. She’s the big sister and her little brother is typically annoying but they have a good relationship. She also has some of her own issues including some unresolved feelings towards her absent mother. She wears a t-shirt at one point that has this written on it, “Love is so shortForgetting is long” which likely alludes to Okjoo’s father being divorced, grandma having passed away long ago and the father’s sister wanting a divorce.
Me and Me / 사라진 시간 (2020)
Director & Writer: Jung Jin-young
Cast: Cho Jin-woong, Bae Soo-bin, Cha Soo-yeon
A detective goes to a small remote village to investigate the death of a couple. One of them was the teacher of the local school. There’s something suspicious about the circumstances and the detective tries to investigate more but ends up drinking too much one night. He wakes up in the house of the deceased couple, who don’t seem to exist. Everyone in the village addresses him as the teacher of the local school.
The tone of the movie is not quite as dire as the trailer would have you believe. While this movie is centered on a mystery of someone waking up with a completely different life, don’t expect to get any answers. The movie is more interested in presenting the idea of questioning one’s identity and reality.
My Punch-Drunk Boxer / 판소리 복서 (2019)
Director: Jung Hyuk-ki
Writers: Jung Hyuk-ki, Cho Hyun-chul
Cast: Um Tae-gu, Lee Hye-ri, Kim Hie-won
This movie is available to rent via VOD in Canada as part of the program of Fantasia International Film Festival until September 2.
Byung-gu is a former boxer who after 10 years away from the ring wants to pick up boxing again. The director of the gym and his former coach is reluctant and simply asks him to continue giving out flyers to advertise the gym. As a result a young woman named Min-ji comes to the gym to learn boxing. Byung-gu helps coach her and they start to get to know each other. She thinks he’s a good man but he reiterates that he is a bad man. Byung-gu’s past is gradually revealed.
Although this movie is a combination of meet-cute romance and sports movie, the trailer gives off the wrong impression. This isn’t a comedy. There are certainly some light moments but this is actually more of a downbeat drama.
Coffee Prince / 커피 프린스 1호점 [Keopipeurinseu 1 Hojeom] (2007)
[17 episodes, approx. 1 hour each]
Director: Lee Yoon-Jung
Assistant Director: Jang Joon-Ho
Writers: Lee Jung-A, Jang Hyun-Joo
Cast: Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun-Hye, Lee Sun-Kyun, Chae Jung-An
I vaguely recall trying to watch this many years ago but for whatever reason I didn’t get very far. As this is a highly praised series, I thought I would try to watch it again to see why it’s so popular. I was surprised to see that it was 17 episodes instead of the more common 16 episodes.
This drama is about a mid 20s woman, Eun-chan (Yoon Eun-hye) who looks like a boy and definitely has tomboy mannerisms. She works to support her mom and younger sister. She ends up meeting a rich man, Han-kyul (Gong Yoo) who is about to turn 30, who’s all play and no work. He has never had a proper job and has mostly just sponged off his grandmother’s wealth. Fed up with his behavior, she makes him take over a run-down, dilapidated cafe and challenges him to renovate it and triple its profits in three months. The cafe is named “Coffee Prince” and he decides that only men will be hired. Eun-chan is hired by Han-jyul who thinks she is a boy. They develop feelings for each other which makes Han-kyul question his sexuality.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, this year’s Fantasia festival will be online only. Movies will be available via VOD. The exact details are not known but the full film screening schedule and ticket purchase will be available on August 10. Anybody in Canada will be able to watch the movie streams.
While there are movies that I feel nostalgia for because I saw them in the past and sometimes were linked with a personally significant event in my life, this is not a list of those movies. This is a list of movies that invoke a sense of nostalgia themselves with their own content.
What makes the story evoke a sense of nostalgia? It could be a variety of things and this list likely skews to what makes me feel nostalgic, which is usually something involving childhood innocence or teenage naivete, coming of age, and/or teenage/young adult romances. Often there is a yearning for a seemingly simpler or better time in the past or a regret on missing an imagined better outcome whether possible or not. Sometimes there are bittersweet thoughts of “what if” or “if only I…”. Many of these movies also have some imaginary and/or fantasy elements in the story or hazy memories that may be unreliable.
This is a genre that I think both South Korea and Japan excel at. Their comedy-dramas / drama-comedies / dramedies (or whatever the term is) can be both funny and offer emotionally satisfying drama. South Korea tends to be a bit more emotional with greater swings of the pendulum between serious and comical. Japan tends to be a bit more subtle sometimes.