Edited by Hwang Hong Su
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Hipster refers to those with specific tastes who doesn’t follow the current trends. In short, they are non-mainstreamers. However, since they have their own unique styles, sometimes they discover and lead the “diamond in the rough” cultures. For example, when Parasite was first released in North America, it was only shown in three theaters. However, as the movie spread amongst the hipsters, who wanted to enjoy the film beyond the barriers of subtitles, it started to draw explosive attention. There are some Korean films that these hipsters would enjoy. This article will introduce Korean movies armed with fresh and unique styles for those who are tired of forced humor and romance.
Released in 2019, Maggie depicts a story of an embarrassing X-ray photo being found in a hospital. Lee Ju Young and Koo Gyo Hwan, who performed impressive performances in independent films, will appear as a couple, and veteran actors including Moon So Ri and Kwon Hae Hyo will enliven the story. Also, Chun Woo Hee, who plays the voice of “Maggie,” shows a formidable volubility. Maggie presents a unique sense of humor and a lively imagination that creates fun, as if several sitcoms have come together to complete the picture. However, the heavy message that comes after a hearty laugh makes you ponder over the work once again.
The movie revolves around Miso, who abandoned her home because she cannot live without a glass of whiskey and a sip of the cigarettes, as she stays with her friends. It was produced in Gwanghwamun Cinema, a famous production company for its distinctive ideas, including The King of Jokgu and The Queen of Crime. Director Jeon Go Eun said that she directed the movie since she felt frustrated about giving up the small happiness in life due to the incredibly high house prices. Lee Som, who played the role of Miso, was praised for playing the eccentric yet innocent character well. With the setting of “boldly throwing away clothing, food and house” to satisfy one’s taste, the movie provided sympathy and consolation to the young generation who are tired of burdensome living expenses and seemingly never-ending competitions.
House of Hummingbird
This year became a very meaningful year in the history of Korean films for discovering House of Hummingbird as well as Parasite. House of Hummingbird is set in 1994 and depicts the small and big moments of life that Eun Hee, a middle school student, experiences both at school and at home. The movie is praised for its delicate directing skills of presenting joy, frustration, disappointment, and pain in the form of stories that anyone would have experienced at some point. Teacher Young Ji’s mysterious presence is also impressive, as she slowly guides the wounded Eun Hee out into the world. Even with the long-running time of 138 minutes, the story and the visuals are so exquisite that you would not want to miss one second of it. In particular, one of the moments that makes House of Hummingbird even more special is the fact that the story of an individual is linked to the tragedy of the time to capture the sense of loss. The scene of visiting the Han River early in the morning before dawn and looking at the collapsed Seongsu Bridge seems to indicate that we can finally move on to a new tomorrow only after we face our own scars.
One day in Namsan, an aspiring actor Eun Hee intertwines with her ex-boyfriend, current boyfriend, and someone she met for the first time. Director Kim Jong Kwan, who mostly produced romantic stories like How To Operate A Polaroid Camera, The Table and Come, Closer, has directed the movie, Worst Woman. Although the viewers cannot hold their laughter back at the situations that Eun Hee is facing, they are once again allowed to immerse in the movie as it presents unexpectedly sweet heartwarming moments.
A Midsummer’s Fantasia
If there’s “Before” series in Hollywood, there’s A Midsummer’s Fantasia in Korea. The movie presents two stories, each in black-and-white and color. The first part captures the story of a film director and his assistant director who visit Gojo, Japan, in a Mockumentary format. The second part, which changes from black-and-white to color, depicts the romance between Hye Jeong, who traveled from Korea, and Yusuke, who acts as a guide. These two parts develop in entirely different ways, but the similarities stand out unexpectedly. For example, the setting of the second part reminds the story the director Tae Hoon heard during the interview he conducted with the villagers for his new film in the first part. This sense of deja vu is hidden throughout the movie, creating an unexpected fun. The detailed portrayal of emotions in the calmness of the quiet summer vacation comes as an unforgettable “melo-fantasy,” as the title suggests.
Jung Gu, who always fails at job interviews, has a hobby of making homemade bombs. With a twisted hope of wanting some else to detonate the bomb on his behalf, he continues making them. However, as Hyomin, who is willing to detonate the bombs, appears, things grow out of control. Tinker Ticker is a work with relentless storytelling and impressive intensity. The movie portrays the agony of two young men standing at the edge of the world by connecting these characters with bomb attacks. It’s also interesting to meet the rookies days of two star actors, Byun Yo Han and Park Jung Min. The contrast between Byun, who gets anxious as the story progresses, and Park, who shows playfulness despite his purpose of exploding the world, certainly grabs the attention.