- Director: Kim Yang-hee
The poetry is atrocious...but, this film is full of warmth, compassion and [utter] heartbreak.
Be patient, it takes a little time to find its feet...but, when it steadies, it stands solid.
This is in the vein of Death in Venice, older man becomes infactuated with a younger boy...and that really is where the similarities end. For this 'young man' is an adult, working a dead-end life and caring for his dying father.
The poet is humdrum, partly miserable, married with a low sperm count. His wife, fiesty as Hell, wants a baby...he wants the boy!
This is not your typical tale of pederasty, this is not even pederasty. There are no gratuitous sex scenes between man and boy, there is nothing that will even raise a controversial eyebrow. This is simply a mid-life crisis, stuck-in-a-rut and seeing - vicariously - what could have been. It is a beautiful [and moving] thing to witness.
The boy is everything the poet never was [but wanted to be]...handsome, popular...bold. Kim Yang-hee manages - quite brilliantly - to convey the love and admiration the poet has for the boy without an iota of tawdriness...although those around him suspect 'the tawdry' - he juggles guilt, longing, poetry and domestic responsibility...the best way he can...bearing in mind, he's neither a juggler nor a very good poet. But...he's honest...to himself and others.
On the whole, this is a gentle journey of realisation and taboo. It's the poet's honesty that keeps this from crossing an implausible line. Near to the end, Kim Yang-hee introduces trauma, desperation, resignation and [cruel] altruism...it's simply breath-taking.
And...to end with the shot he ends with...it will bring a tear to every eye.
A wonderful film...full of what-ifs!
A poet (Yang Ik-june) in his late thirties lives on the quiet Jeju Island. He's lucky enough to be able to practice his art while living off of his hardworking wife. He's led an untroubled and uneventful life, and his fuel for inspiration is running out. One day, he meets a handsome young man (Jung Ga-ram) working at the local donut shop. Suddenly, life is no longer the same. Emotional turmoil catches him by surprise and brings to the surface a side he had never known. This revelation triggers his art, allowing him to mature as a writer.