The opening of "The Happy Life"
, the most recent movie by Lee Joon-ik
– director of "The King and the Clown
" and "Radio Star
" – is just around the corner. The story of a rock band consisting of 40-year-old men is scheduled for release on September 13.
The movie tells the story of three men who graduated from the same college and formed a band in memory of their deceased friend. The story develops as expected, but their reality is something with which men can easily sympathize. The only way to stay away from the reality is music, attracting and exciting moviegoers.
The movie sends a message of interaction between generations through music as the men accept the son (played by Jang Keun-suk
) of their dead friend into the band. The overriding tone of the movie is the feeling of people in their 40's, which is well-captured by the 49-year-old director. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Lee and Jang.
Lee: "We put little money into this film -2.8 billion won- and chose to work harder rather than increasing funding. Look at my muscles; they are the result of my labor. Through this movie, I wanted to talk about something small and humane. The movie sets out to close the gap of misunderstanding, which stems from ignorance. If you become honest, you will be more humane and will part with misunderstandings. The previous movie – "The King and the Clown
" – communicates the message that eventually kings and clowns are the same human beings".
Jang: "I have never thought of myself as an actor; I am just an entertainer. This is why I experienced troubles for a long time. While shooting this movie, I realize that I want to be more like my colleagues, who are older than me".
Middle-Aged Men in Korea-
Lee: "I feel pity of Korean middle-aged men. Their life is full of difficulty. Women might say that the difficulty is not limited to only men. But I want to recognize and encourage men in their mid-age. And I want to tell them 'Let's not grow up'".
Jang: "I was worried about the generation gap while making the film, but there was no need for me to do so" (Lee explained, "Jang is very mature for his age; where we are not). "I cannot imagine what middle-age life will bring. I feel that marriage is like a fantasy".
Lee: "Rock means rebellion and freedom. When you stand on the stage as a rock star, you will feel like you are the center of the world. Enthusiastic audiences may feel the same way. Though rock is western music, it is similar to the Korean way of enjoying leisure time, particularly Madangnori – the Korean traditional performance. It is important is to allow performers and their audience to interact".
Jang: "I grew up listening to the music of H.O.T. and god. While I was shooting the concert scene at the end of the movie, I felt joy I had never experienced before and I couldn't come down from the stage after finishing the scene. I realized that this kind of joy enables singers to pursue rock music even though they barely make enough money to survive".
Lee: "You cannot do whatever you want, but you can improve your reality. Top priority for Koreans in their 40's is the education of their children. Now it is time for the children to be freed. Only ten percent of children succeed because they are good at school. My test score was 58th in my class. If you know what you want to do, your life will be happy. We are well aware of what we should not do, but we don't know what we want to do".
Jang: "A happy life? Now I am happy. But I will do more to be happier".