Unexpectedly, I really enjoyed Kang Hyeong-cheol’s Sunny at the KCC this week. I shan’t bore you with the details – Paul Quinn has articulated it on Hangul Celluloid much better than I could.
Based on the trailers I had been kind of expecting a bit of an offbeat teen comedy. When it featured in the line-up of the 2011 London Korean Film Festival I didn’t bother going to see it – there were other movies which seemed so much more appealing, and it was on at an inconvenient time.
Part of the draw on Thursday night was the introductory talk by Jinhee Choi, who put the movie in its cultural and historical context. In particular she placed the movie in the period 1983-86 – the brief period when uniforms were not required in Korean schools, and explained some of the cultural references – including the popularity of the French film La Boum.
As Paul says this movie doesn’t pretend to be deep but beneath its surface it is surprisingly rich. It’s one of those heartwarming feelgood movies with gentle humour that you’ll never tire of watching. Paul confessed to crying the first time he watched it and I’m not ashamed to say that I did the same when I saw it for the first time two days ago. And I want to watch it again not least for the sensitive way in which it juxtaposes the dreams of youth with the realities of adulthood. It’s one of those unexpected pleasures, and I wish I had made time for it in 2011.
Kang Hyeong-cheol (강형철): Sunny (써니, 2011)