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Christmas in August (1998)

Cast: Han Suk-Kyu, Shim Eun-ha
Director: Hur Jin-Ho
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Running Time: 97 min.

Hur Jin-Ho's directorial debut came with this low-key Korean drama about a photographer, Jung-Won (Han Suk-Kyu), who runs a small studio in the almost rural environs of suburban Seoul. Days pass as he goes about his studio routines, enlarging class photos and taking family portraits. One day, Jung-Won meets young meter maid Da-Rim (Shim Eun-Ha) when she enters his establishment with a request for photos of parking violations. They make an unlikely twosome and are not immediately attracted to each other. Even so, they go on a date to an amusement park. Over time, a friendship develops, but Jung-Won has an unspecified terminal illness, a fact which is known only to his immediate family. Shown in the Critics Week section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

slow, sluggish, and maudlin by ewee September 12, 2005 - 3:57 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Sigh...although I so wanted to like this film, and was primed for a slow romance to unfold, what I found instead was a sluggish pace and stiff actors.

Overall, there were moments of beauty and interesting interactions between some of the characters. But the movie was never engrossing enough to suspend my grip on reality. The main character's illness was understated, yet the not-so-subtle references to his illness made the movie predictable and maudlin.

Not a bad rental, but save it for when you've got laundry to fold, and other things to occupy half your attention...

Half a high note by Popnfresh July 27, 2005 - 10:34 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Not to be petty, or to write an extremely subjective review, but Han Suk-Kyu is thoroughly difficult to watch. As an actor he's fine, but as a person he exudes smugness and pomposity. This makes the film, at times, difficult to appreciate given that the film revolves around his character. Han Suk-Kyu is that IT guy with the pony tail and the crums on his shirt, and he will rip you a new one if you can't execute a unix script.

Shim Eun-ha, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She's interesting and engaging, and the film is a pleasure when she enters the scene.

Rehashing the other reviews, the story is understated and refreshing. The film is well made, well paced (when HSK isn't the only one in the scene), and heartbreakingly real.

As anti-Hollywood as you can get, and far more fulfilling by inkcat42 July 15, 2004 - 10:42 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
This feels less like a movie than a portal into another neighborhood. There's nothing flashy about the film, and the pace might be considered slow, but instead of boring me it made me relax and immerse myself into the story, so that I felt as if I just happened to be wandering around with the characters. The acting is superb, and not at any time do you feel any falseness, any struggling to tell the story. Nor is the movie ever saccharine--instead, there are some genuinely charming moments, enough to make you smile or laugh without retching.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.28)
36 Votes
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The "New" Korean Cinema
After a long period of time when korean films were domindated by international films, the quality of these have dramatically improved over the last ~ 10 years to produce some excellent films.. These are my picks/reviews from those in the GC catalog..

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