The Poet and the Boy + Introduction by Hannah McGill
Director: Kim Yang-hee
Cast: Yang Ik-june, Jeon Hye-jin, Jung Ga-ram
Cert 15, 110mins, 2017
We’re on Jeju Island, though we see nothing of its tourism industry. But in spirit we’re closer to Venice – the Venice of Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (1912), where a middle-aged writer is suddenly, inexplicably struck by the beauty of a young man and finds his whole life upended because of it. The Jeju writer is Hyeon Taekji (Yang Ik-june), a second-rate poet mired in defeatism with a strong-willed wife who’s determined to get pregnant before it’s too late. The boy is Seyun, a dropout from high school who is the main carer for his ailing father and works daytimes selling sugary American donuts. Hyeon worries that he might be gay, but his wife is scornful and resentful … Kim Yanghee’s astonishing debut feature moves from delicious comedy to a transfixing, precisely measured map of the human heart. Yang Ik-june is indelible as Hyeon, a role light years from the gangster he played in his own debut feature Breathless (2010).
Edinburgh Filmhouse, 21 Nov 2018 8:35 pm