Monday, February 19, 2007
My Sassy Girl
Yeopgijeogin geunyeo; romantic comedy, South Korea, 2001, D: Jae-young Kwak, S: Tae-hyun Cha, Ji-hyun Jun, Jin-hie Han, Sook-he Hyun, In-mun Kim
Based on a series of true events posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend, this film describes the meeting of Kyun-woo and an unnamed girl. She is drunk and he helps her inside a train. Kyun-woo is shamed into assisting the girl because the other passengers mistakenly think she is his girlfriend. She throws up on the wig of a man and falls unconscious. Kyun-woo carries her to a motel and replies to a call from a cell phone, telling where she is. But then the police storm in right into their room just as he was taking a shower. He lands in jail, gets bailed out and clobbered by his mother. But one day the girl contacts him and they go to a bar together, where she explains to him that she got drunk because her relationship with a boyfriend ended some time ago. Soon she is again drunk and he has to carry her to the same motel again. After that the girl starts acting as if they are a couple, but she is always mean and harsh towards him. He reads her sci-fi script and tries to be gentle and patient. But her parents convince her to break up with him. Kyun-woo is sad, but he accepts it. They agree to write their thoughts in letters and put them in a "time capsule", which they bury in a isolated hill, and return back in two years. Kyun-woo returns, but the girls doesn't show up. Eventually, they meet up again when Kyun-woos aunt introduces them.
In the early 21st century, the South Korea cinema has entered a 'Renaissance' and turned into a real treat because an average viewer can enjoy in a original, unpredictable story from another culture. South Korean cinematography has indeed become big in the 21st Century. "My Sassy Girl" is funny, romantic, hip, quirky, original...and stupid. The exposition is really funny (the scene in which the drunk girl throws up on some guy's hair - which turns out to be his wig! - is truly unbelievable) and the end is really touching, but in between the story starts going on ones nerves. The humor is too often based on grimaces, annoyance and bizarreness. The authors probably thought; "we are going to give you a really good ending and you will forgive us for all the nonsense we served you up until that point", but that didn't work, at least for me. Still, it was rather refreshing to have a girl being mean, cynical and abusive, and the guy being a gentle victim for a change, and a lot of scenes were pretty amusing, like the one in which he had to walk in her women's shoes and she in his sneakers, while the song "My Girl" was playing in the background - rather inappropriately. "My Sassy Girl" is a good film (the American remake will definitely be worse), but it didn't completely succeed in portraying a different kind of romance, like lets say Capra's masterwork "It Happened One Night" did, which is a jewel of naughty romantic comedy.