Christmas in August is the classic Korean Wave melodrama starring two of the biggest stars of the day. Or maybe, coming as it did in 1998, you could say it’s just pre-Korean Wave. Han Suk-gyu plays the photographic shop owner who has an incurable disease – that stock plot item in Korean weepies; Shim Eun-ha is the impossibly pretty traffic warden with whom Han slowly and unintentionally falls in love – but never feels able to say so, or that he won’t be around for long. Sounds awful? Absolutely not. It regularly features in critics’ list of top Korean films – for example it’s in Darcy Paquet’s top 10 of the 1990s. Both actors “give perhaps the best performances of their career in portraying a brief but poignant friendship that leaves each character altered” says Paquet.
Hur Jin-ho’s quietly reserved style suits the storyline. Here’s hoping the KCC will show Hur’s second feature – One Fine Spring Day – early in the New Year.
Christmas in August screens at the KCC on Thursday 11 December at 7pm. Contact the KCC to book.