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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Festival - Fitting"


Kyeong-hee (played by Seo Ye-ji) starts work in a tailor shop to support her family, but with a clear eye toward a future where they're all able to ascend to the educated genteel class. An obstacle appears in the form of Seong-hyeon (played by Heo Jung-do). He also has ambitions. The man has an excellent eye for design. His plan for success, rather than ride the hopeful seventies breeze of modernized prosperity, is simply to become the best tailor he can be.

This is a love story, albeit one that's surprisingly well-grounded in reality. As the framing device implies, Kyeong-hee and Seong-hyeon do not ultimately end up together, even if all the little moments of their romance are quite compelling. Part of this is just due to backdrop. Director Jang Joon-ho does excellent work here with staging, lighting, and filters. As befits Korea in this time period, there's no real urban sprawl. This is still a landscape that can plausibly be traversed by bicycle.

All of this works to give "Drama Festival - Fitting" an appropriately nostalgic air. It is, ironically enough, this same sense of nostalgia that ultimately dooms their relationship. One of the big advantages of youth is that you're not really putting a whole lot of fun into the future, so it's easy to have fun in the moment. But Seong-hyeon is old enough that he needs to start putting his dream into action. And Kyeong-hee, for her youth, still has enough personal challenges that she can't help with that.

Surprisingly enough, even though the drama is technically a failed love story, the moments of inspiration are poignant ones. To Seong-hyeon, Kyeong-hee is his muse. She inspires him to do more ambitious work. Even though Kyeong-hee isn't what he needs long-term, she's still the spark that sets him off. Considering that "Drama Festival - Fitting" is told from Kyeong-hee's perspective, this makes for a particularly interesting argument that in some sense it's all right to be objectified. Seong-hyeon and Kyeong-hee are from totally different worlds- there's no shame in admitting that.

Just as well, there's no shame for the characters to admit by the end that the times they enjoyed together were fun. Now that they can look back, and see how they helped each other...well, it's funny. Normally we tend to think of the nostalgia filter as being a bad thing, but "Drama Festival - Fitting" provides a convincing counterargument to the contrary. Everything can work out in the end, as long as we stay focused on what's important, and recognize that some wounds can heal. Seong-hyeon and Kyeong-hee just weren't fated to be together, and that's OK.

"Drama Festival - Fitting" is directed by Jang Joon-ho, written by Moon Soo-jeong and features Seo Ye-ji, Heo Jung-do, Jung Ho-keun and Park Jung-soo.

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