An Affair


An Affair
Film info

Director: E J-Yong
Cast: Lee Mi-sook, Lee Jung-jae, Song Young-chang, Kim Min
Cert 18, 108 mins, 1998
Distributed by Nine films

Architect’s-wife Seo-hyun (Lee Mi-sook), is constrained by domesticity, until one day she meets her younger sister’s 27-year-old fiancé, Woo-in (Lee Jung-jae). Seo-hyeon promises to help find the perfect home for him and her sister, before her sister returns from the US to marry Woo-in. Some 10 years her junior, Woo-in is refreshingly endearing and charming, bringing Seo-hyun a new lease in life. Emotions simmer and start to crystallise; soon both face an overwhelming desire to risk all that they once held dear....

It’s an oft-told story of desire and betrayal, but An Affair is recounted with clarity and restraint against a metallic 90s colour palette. Just as the bold hues of the classic melodrama spoke to heightened emotions, An Affair’s pre-millennial minimalism echoes the introversion of its characters. A star-making breakthrough for both Lee Jung-jae and director E J-yong, this beautifully shot film also saw the comeback of one of the biggest actresses of the 1980s, Lee Mi-sook. The ultra-modern interior design and various apartments it visits create a Seoul built upon loveless spaces – but An Affair still cries out for the bliss of companionship, boldly prioritising it above family, children and the home.