Modern Boy 모던 보이 (2008) – Korean Movie

March 22, 2009 jeansdream

I watched this movie during a flight to Asia.  I was happy this was featured as one of the World Cinema films and was even happier I watched it. 

Since I watched this movie a while ago so what I am going to write in the following may not be 100% accurate in details.

Modern Boy is a Korean movie released in 2008.  The story was set in 1937 when Korea was occupied by Japan.  Directed and written by Jeong Ji-woo, the 3 leading cast included Park Hae-il as Lee Hae-myeong, Kim Hye-soo as Jo Lan-sil (aka Laura), Kim Nam-gil as Sinseuke.

The movie started off with a bright and playful tone where Lee Hae-myeong was portrayed as a modern dude.  Lee was a civil servant at Gyeongseong (which is Seoul).  He technically worked for the Japanese government which had Korea annexed since 1910 then.  (I find the reason why he chose to work for the Japanese government interesting and important.  I’ll let you find out yourself.)  The young Lee in his early 20’s (I think) was truly a nice playboy of the era.  He drove an automobile, he chased and fooled around with modern girls, he entertained at bars and night clubs, he was fluent in Japanese and befriended with a Japanese police, he wore custom-made suits and hats, and his shoes had his names on them.  He was a financially well-off, care-free boy. 

Later in the film, we’re shown that Lee’s administration office compound was fenced and guarded.  What seemed glamourous on the surface had an undercurrent – the underground anti-colonization movement was heated.  Some Koreans wanted to end the forced occupation by Japan.  They were planning something radical and major.  The identity of a prominant leader, who’s also the implied lover of Laura whom Lee acquainted in a night theatre as a hot dancer and fell in love with madly remained mysterious.  Very few had seen the leader.  Everyone, including Lee and his friend Sinseuke, wanted to find out more about this leader for their own reasons.

This is basically a love story wth a patriotism overtone.  There were some touching scenes, some sweet scenes, some chilly scenes.  It gave you some surprises, some anger, some tears, some suspenses and some smiles.  It covered the nature of reality and projected reality, truth and perceived truth.  It examined different aspects of love and sacriface.  What comes first – your job, your status, your money, your friend, your family, your love, your country, your life?   Just how and how many times can you break a man’s heart and unbreak it?  It actually reminded me of the prophet Hosea and his wife, and that extended to me and God.  Where is your heart?

This movie won’t give you major excitment, but for me, never a boring minute and a lasting reminiscence.  And it’s also refreshing to see a Korean theme not related to gangsters (man, Korean fight scenes are really well done – they have a way).  🙂  If you come across this movie, Modern Boy, give it a chance, and let me know what you think of it.  And click here for its trailer.    😉

p.s. the Japanese colonization of Korea ended in 1945 along with the end of WWII when Japan was defeated.  The annexation treaty was declared “null and void” by both Korea and Japan in 1965.

Entry Filed under: Movie Ping 影評

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kempton  |  March 23, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Korean movies are getting better and better while many HK movies or TV shows seem to stay the same.

    • 2. jeansdream  |  March 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm

      the more, the better, the merrier! Cheers.

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