“Do you know what it’s like to care too much
’bout someone that you’re never gonna get to touch”
Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living) – The Eels.
Welcome to the first of these movies that deeply affected me. And not surprisingly, we are not talking about a horror movie, and we are back off to Korea.
Now I am not a big fan of romance films. Maybe the odd romantic comedy. But full blown romance, no.
Thing is – you are going to find at least three films on this list that are going to fall into this category (but the others will probably be considered rom-com). And this is how Asian Cinema has affected me.
We have all been in love right? In love with someone unreachable. Someone out of our reach, whether they are geographically too far away, or they travel in different circles, or they don’t even know you are alive – or worse of all – they don’t even think of you that way!
Well imagine you were separated by 2 years of time.
And that, dear reader is the central promise of this film, and which is why IMDB places Il Mare within a sub-genre of “sci-fi”.
It sounds silly written down, but the two leads share so little screen time in his film. She (the wondrous Jeon Ji-hyun) lives two years in the future from Him. They communicate via a mysterious postbox, which enables them to share letters, and more besides.
But this is not an American movie. The two don’t bicker, hate each other, then realise they love each other. No, this is a story about a young man who learns to respect his father only when he has gone, about a woman who can’t let go of a failed relationship she is so obviously better off without, about a friendship that blossoms despite obstacles.
Obstacles like two years of time and death. Little things like that.
I am not going to put any more of a synopsis in here, I think I have captured enough for you to understand.
The ending is bittersweet. In some ways the previous two hours are lost, but we the audience think and hope that things will turn out ok in the end. Then again they might not.
I do have a single criticism. Without giving too much away, there is a critical event near the end of the film, which is suddenly exposed, never hinted at or suggested previously. Now, one could argue this is the event which actually triggers the whole film into existence, but for me I found it to be too much to be unleashed on me far too late in the film. But as I say – a very minor blemish.
This film was given a US remake (which i have seen mixed reviews, and it looks as though they took the central idea and wove a slightly different story) – I don’t care. Don’t want to see it.
But DO see this film. Enjoy the ambience. Enjoy its beauty. Don’t worry too much about the details. Just remember that girl or boy you could never have.