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Women aim for Olympic glory in Forever the Moment

2008/01/02 | 250 views | Permalink | Source

Director Yim Soon-rye is one of the key female directors in Korea and she returns with the sports drama "Forever the Moment" centred on the Korean women's handball team from 2004; the women took home the silver medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after a heroic battle with women hand ball's leading nation Denmark.

LIM chose to make a character study rather than concentrating on the emotional finale at the Olympics. She even left out the other Olympic matches leading to the finale in favour of fleshing out the characters.

"Forever the Moment" distinguishes itself in this way from other sports dramas which usually try to exploit the dynamics and excitement that sports games can provide lengthily. In other ways, LIM's film contains the classic elements of a sports drama.

The film starts out with individuals who are far from Olympic contenders. Moon So-ri plays a former handball star who is now a mother and trapped in an unhappy marriage. Kim Jung-eun is from the same generation, she was also a star player, became a handball team manager of a Japanese professional women's handball team, and now takes charge of the Korean women's national handball team.

She soon recognizes the need for an experienced and charismatic figure to lead the team and succeeds in re-recruiting MOON's reluctant character. However, KIM's character is soon replaced by Uhm Tae-woong's character. He succeeded as a professional handball player in Europe. His flashy style and European methods clash with the athletes repeatedly.

Another typical element of the genre is friction caused by the generation gap between players which they have to overcome in order to become a team. In traditional fashion the players become close when they stand up for each other against outsiders.

The scenario is written by Nah Hyeon who also successfully scripted "May 18"'s characters, bonding and collective uprising; to portray the emotional side of the Gwangju massacre in the 2007 blockbuster.

Director of photography Hwang Ki-seok brought his experience from modern Korean classics as "Friend" and "Duelist"; for which he shot totally different styles of kinetic scenes. He succeeds in capturing some dynamic scenes during the Olympic finale to complement the emotional side of the epic game.

"Forever the Moment" successfully employs classic elements of sports dramas to develop the characters in order to let the audience empathise with these underdogs. The focus of the story is somewhat shifted, the structure pronounces the characters more than usual and limits the adrenalin filled action scenes. The finale at the end of the film compensates with slickly executed moves, still, it concentrates mostly on emotional aspects.

Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)

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