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'Modern Boy' paints a colorful story

2008/08/29 | Permalink | Source

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Director Jeong Ji-woo's historical drama "Modern Boy" promises to be the highlight of this year's film calendar.

Set in 1937 Gyeongseong (old Seoul) when Korea was under Japanese occupation, it follows the story of Lee Hae-myung (played by Park Hae-il), a Korean civil servant with an extravagant lifestyle and a dress sense to match. As a self-proclaimed romanticist, his liberal approach to life defies the oppression and economic depression of the time, hence the film's title.

However, all is changed as he falls in love with the enchanting Cho Nan-sil (Kim Hye-soo), a mysterious bar-performer who proves to be a lot more than meets the eye. Lee Hae-myung suddenly finds that he is pit against the grand forces of history in a fight for his love.

On his choice of setting, director Jeong Ji-woo said that "it was an era wrought with economic trouble but still incredibly rich in culture, I thought it would provide a great setting for a movie", in the opening press conference at Apgujeong CGV on Wednesday.

"Modern Boy" stays true to the sageuk genre (Korean historical drama) with characteristic emphasis on its setting, recreating the intricate details of 1930s Gyeongseong from scratch. From suspended paper streetlights to historical sites like the Gyeongseong station and Sungnyemun, no expenses were spared in bringing the period to life in full color. This attention to detail is bound to mesmerize the audience with the depiction of a vibrant, passionate Gyeongseong, a place that lingers in the history books only through black and white photos as a difficult period in Korean history.

Two years in the making, Jeong was full of pride for his film and praise for his actors. He said they were "a pleasure to work with" and that "the film will be worth seeing for their captivating performances alone".

Due for release on Oct. 2, "Modern Boy" looks to set the screens alight with all the color and passion of autumn.

By Han Sung-joo

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