Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Architecture 101 -- A Korean Movie

South Korea | 2011 | 118 minutes | Director: Lee Yong-joo | Cast: Eom Tae-woong, Han Ga-in, Baek Suzy, Lee je-hoon

Since I took architecture in university, the movie's title caught my interest. So last Sunday I went to see it.

The film's poster (oh wow, architectural Han geul typography). Taken from hancinema

The movie kicks off with a woman taking a look into a ruined house on the shoreline of Jeju island. Then the camera brings you to an architecture bureau in Seoul, where Lee Seung-min works, and sometimes sleeps in to finish his works.

I can't help noticing the bricks that are used as the office's space divider and shelves:) Found here

The woman in Jeju island, later known as Seung-min's friend Seo-yeon, comes to the office to ask Seung-min's help to rebuild her family home. While Seo-yeon was majoring in music, she took Architecture 101, a subject any student can take, on the same year as Seung-min did. 

As Seung-min agrees to do the renovation job, they reminisce on their university days with the movie going back and forth. The younger Seung-min and Seo-yeon are played by Lee Je-hoon and Baek Suzy, while the older  Eom Tae-woong and Han Ga-in.

My favorite character in this movie is the one below :)

Nab-ddeuk, Seung-min's friend and love guru. Photo found here. See more of him here

In the past, both Seung-min and Seo-yeon lived in Jeung-nong area, wanted to be rich and were unable to express their feelings toward each other. In present time, Seung-min has made a solid career in the architecture bureau, is about to marry his girlfriend Eun-chae (played by Go Joon-hee) and will soon move to the U.S., while Seo-yeon still wonders what she would do about her life.

Architecture 101, the subject the characters took in their university days, explains about architecture in the most simple way that to understand architecture, one should know the surrounding environment. The lecturer asks the students to draw the route from home to university, then assigns them to take pictures of their neighborhood and check out the local attraction, be it a famous person's tomb or a park. The second assignment is the students should go to the farthest bus stop from their homes (For Seung-min and Seo-yeon, this means Gaupo-dong). The third is to go to the place they like. Man, I don't remember having such adventurous assignments for Pengantar Arsitektur :(.

The movie brought nostalgia, not just for an architecture undergrad, but anyone who grew up in the 1990s. Discman, beeper and computer with 1GB memory make appearance in this movie. Anyway, as the movie's tagline says "everyone is someone's first love", expect the unexpected ending. Not the kind of Hollywood movie ending, that's for sure.

Trivia:
-- Director Lee Yong-ju holds a bachelor degree in Architecture from Yonsei University and collaborated with architect Gu Seung-hwe to accurately depict the architectural detail shown in the movie
-- In late August 2012, Typhoon Bolaven damaged Seo-yeon's home, which was especially constructed for the movie. Plans are underway to rebuild the house and turn it into a cafe gallery.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite k-movie of all time. A must watch movie.

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