Christmas In August
Director: Hur Jin-ho
Cast: Han Suk-kyu, Shim Eun-ha
Film genre: Drama, Romance
Cert 15, 97 mins, 1998
Distributed by M-Line Distribution
Jung-won (Han Suk-kyu) lives with his widowed father and runs the small photo studio which he inherited. His daily routine consists of mundane tasks such as taking funeral headshot photos and developing photos of parking violations for traffic wardens. Darim (Shim Eun-ha) becomes a regular customer of the studio and the two slowly realise the special connection they have for each other. What Jung-won fails to tell her is that he is terminally ill.
This film is Hur Jin-ho’s directorial debut after having worked as assistant director for Park Kwang-soo on To The Starry Island (1993), and A Single Spark (1995). Hur was inspired to make the film when he saw the funeral picture of the late folk singer Kim Kwang-suk - his bravery in smiling in the face of death. Without resorting to the standard techniques of melodrama, Hur develops a compelling portrait of love, memory and death, shining a light on the poetry of seemingly mundane lives.