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[20 Korean Films to Look Out for Second Half of 2011] Always

A Man in the Ring Fights for Love
Directed by SONG Il-gon
By RA Jegy
Always is a heartbreaking love story of an ex-boxer, Chulmin (SO Ji-sub), and a telemarketer, Jung-hwa (HAN Hyo-joo), losing her sight slowly after an accident. Chul-min, who had to leave the ring due to his dark past, returns to the deadly ring to get Jung-hwa’s sight back. The film combined fierce fighting scenes with a sad and innocent love of the couple. The film is a latest film of director SONG Il-gon who was invited to the Venice Film Festival with Flower Island (2001) and won the grand prize at Cannes Film Festival in short competition with The Picnic (1999). Since then, SONG has been considered as an auteur, who makes art house films. Always is his first commercial film. After finishing Dance of Time , a documentary based on Cuba, SONG kept saying that he wanted to make a perfect commercial film because he hardly had an opportunity to make a feature film. How his direction and dazzling visual style is unfolded in this film is a key point to watch. A cinematographer HONG Kyeongpyo of Mother joins the production. But, the prejudice of the audience on SONG’s movie is an obstacle that the film has to overcome.
The production company HB entertainment says that Always is a conventional melodrama that makes the audience cry. Like movies A Moment to Remember and You Are My Sunshine , this film targets the Korean female audience. They say, “The end of the film offers spectacular fighting scenes to attract male audience as well.” A leading role, SO Ji-sub, delivered an impressive performance in Rough Cut (2008) and appeared opposite of ZHANG Ziyi in a Korea-China co-production movie, Sophie’s Revenge (2009), but working on a melodrama was the first time. He trained for months to shape his body to do boxing and fighting scenes and also to show the wild side and dedication of the man at the same time. Being a star through TV dramas, HAN Hyo-joo has participated low-budget films or independent films such as Ride Away (2008). Always will be her first commercial film and a leading role. Distributed by Showbox and starts shooting at the end of May, this film will be released in the middle of October of November.

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