Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Agony and Ecstasy

Eighteen (2009) - Jang
Teen love is a fickle affair. It's that intense bittersweet period which we remember and cherish for the rest of our lives.

Eighteen tells the story of star-crossed High school lovers, Mi-jeong and Tae-hoon in a 6 months time frame.

In our teen years, there were definitely times when we hate our parents with passion. The fear and frustration that hang over the film originate from one pivotal scene in the beginning with Mi-jeong's crazy father: Tae-hoon and his parents are summoned to Mi-jeong's house after the young couple gets back from the secret trip to the beach. Her father makes them to write down their alibi separately and interrogates them on when and where they spent their time together. When their stories don't match up, he throws an alcohol assisted fit- a table gets overturned, glasses break, faces gets slapped, and plenty of expletives are uttered including 'whore'. In the end, Tae-hoon is made to write up a penance, swearing that he won't see Mi-jeong again until they enter college.

All the elements of typical Asian wayward youth films are present- loneliness invoking motorcycle tracking shots through the neon cityscapes, silent moments on the beach, disapproving parents, prolonged embraces that only teenagers in love can understand...

Eighteen's strength is in its realistic depiction of that short precious teen year. It is one of the most un-fetishized, realistic representations of a teen love story I've seen in a while. And it's refreshing. Cutting back and forth between present and a few days the young couple spend their time alone in the beachside resort in Kang-won Province (which is the prime getaway destination for every Korean youth). The effect is immediate and intimate and the young actors convey the feeling of agony and ecstasy very well.

Review at Twitch

1 comment:

  1. Dustin, thanks for sharing this movie with me. This is a movie I hope to make one day, soon, when I'm like 28 or 30.