2018-10-17 20:31 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
A touching tale of four high school friends from the southern port city of Busan
Darcy Paquet (internews)     Print Article 
Published 2006-03-21 14:04 (KST)   
You could hear the rumbling several weeks before it was released, and then when "Friend" hit the screens, it lived up to its hype. Four high school students in 1970s Busan form an inseparable group of friends, despite their differing backgrounds. Years pass, however, and fate and violence combine to drive the four apart and test their friendship.

Director Kwak Kyung Taek's voice trembles when talking about this, his third feature, and it's little wonder why: "Friend" is a true story based on the lives of his three childhood friends (the role of Sang Taek, the wealthier member of the group who goes to study abroad, represents the director himself). Although the tragic story seems in some ways made for the screen, very little was altered in its telling. But it's not so much the story that distinguishes this film, but rather the feeling with which it is presented.

One major aspect of this movie's power is its cinematography. This has to be one of the most gorgeous Korean films of recent years, from cityscapes that resemble watercolors to the graceful shattering of windows and doors. Director of photography Hwang Ki Seok, a relative newcomer to the film scene, should take pride in the work he has created.

Actor Yoo Oh Sung has been distinguishing himself for several years with remarkable if largely unheralded performances, but this is clearly his breakout film. His acting dominates the movie, despite fine performances from supporting actors and his popular co-star Chang Dong Gun. Yoo shows an impressive range of emotions in his portrayal, but he also leaves a great deal unsaid, making for a complex portrayal that begs a second viewing.

Apart from creating this testament to his friends' experiences, Kwak has also forged a vivid portrait of his native Busan. From the heavily accented Gyeongsang dialect to elegant shots of its harbor, Korea's second-largest city is presented here in rare beauty. Although made famous by its international film festival, Busan has seldom been presented on screen, making this film feel even more like an urgent, exciting discovery.

Related Articles
'King and the Clown'
'Art Museum by the Zoo'
'Take Care of My Cat'
' Last Present '

Darcy Paquet writes for Variety magazine and is also a programme consultant for the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy. A native of Massachusetts, he has been living in Korea since 1997.
©2006 OhmyNews

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2018 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077