Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives have changed significantly. Since we mostly stay at home and put on masks outside, it’s difficult the feel the changes in the seasons. While we wore masks and struggled with the heat and humidity, summer is slowly coming to an end. Let’s check out some of the best Korean summer films that will soothe this disappointment.
Little Forest (2018)
The movie calmly follows Hye Won’s daily life after returning to her hometown, conveying the beauty of four seasons that are hard to feel in the city. Is it because this summer was more unusual than any other year? I envy Hye Won’s summer days in the movie. Though it doesn’t seem easy to work under the blistering sun, summer life in the countryside is relaxing and peaceful. In particular, watching her sitting on a stone bridge near the creek with friends under a gentle moonlight seems to relieve our fatigue built up in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Worst Woman (2015)
In late summer, Eun Hee, who visited Seochon, is more hectic than usual. Coming out of her acting lessons, she encounters a Japanese novelist who visited Korean on business by chance and shares a cup of tea, then goes on a secret date with her boyfriend, who is busy filming a drama. However, her date ends with disappointment, and on her way home, she meets a divorced man she once dated for a while. The movie follows Eun Hee and her day, capturing the thrilling, childish, selfish, and unstable nature of love.
A Good Rain Know (2009)
Dong Ha goes on a business trip to China and runs into May, an old friend from his school days in the US, by coincidence, and the two find their old feelings reignite and new ones form. The movie describes their short but sweet encounter delicately and candidly. The freshness of late spring going into summer and the perfect visuals of Jung Woo Sung and Gao Yuanyuan stand out, and the green scenery of DuFu Thatched Cottage, where the two fatefully reunite, seems to cool the heat down just from watching.
Butterfly Sleep (2017)
Like the opening sequence that’s filled with green scenery, the movie gives off a pleasant scent. Fascinated by Japanese novels, So Chan Hae recklessly moves to Japan to meet Matsumura Ryoko, a famous novelist and a professor. And the process of the two completing a novel together and building their love unfolds sentimentally on top of fine summer days. The stunning scenery that looks like a watercolor painting of a summer day and the fresh combination of Nakayama Miho and Kim Jae Wook will enthrall you.
The movie tells the story of a Beijing-based professor Choi Hyun who returns to Korea for a funeral but impulsively detours to Gyeongju. It follows Choi Hyun’s short trip, which feels like “a midsummer night’s dream,” and stylishly captures the mysterious and cozy charms of Gyeongju, a historical city where the past and the present coexist. Especially, the scene where drunk Choi Hyun climbs up the tumulus late at night is peculiar but also beautiful.
A Boy and Sungreen (2018)
Bo Hee, a sensitive high schooler, finds out that his mother has a new boyfriend and that his supposedly dead father may be alive. Despite the shock, he goes off on a search with his BFF Nok Yang in tow. The freshness of the summer’s bright sunshine gently embraces the teenagers’ whimsical but serious journey, putting a warm smile on our faces.
Goodbye Summer (2018)
Though the film revolves around a boy suffering from a terminal illness, it’s definitely not pessimistic, but rather fresh and soft as if it’s part of romance manhwa (Korean comics). Hyun Jae, who’s within sight of death, still goes to school and studies as usual, and confesses his feelings to Soo Min all of a sudden. Like the name “Hyun Jae (meaning the present in Korean),” the movie calmly reflects the daily lives of Hyun Jae, who accepts his death and stays faithful to every moment, and his friends.
Be With You (2017)
It depicts the story of Soo Ah, who kept her promise to come back, and Woo Jin, who shows unwavering love for her, meeting once again to share their feelings and build new memories. Since Soo Ah returned when the summer monsoon started, the movie is full of fresh breeze and a kind of freshness that can only be felt in summer. Rather than being gloomy, the rainy days present cleanness and freshness, and when the rain stops, you will find yourself impressed by the screen filled with refreshing green color.