Korean filmmaker Jae-eun Jeong's strong feature debut is a perceptive drama about five high-school friends from the industrial port city of Inchon, who find it increasingly difficult to remain close after graduation. Haughty and ambitious Hae-joo (Yo-won Lee) quickly finds a job as an executive assistant at a brokerage house in nearby Seoul, where she plans to move as soon as she's able. She clearly has big plans for herself, and has already started looking down on her friends, whose values don't exactly match her own. She's particularly dismissive of Ji-young (Ji-young Ok), who wants to study textile design abroad. That, as Hae-joo callously reminds her, isn't likely to happen anytime soon; Ji-young has no money, and since her parents' death has lived with her grandparents in a cramped, crumbling apartment in one of the city's slums. Tae-hee (Doo-na Bae) works without pay for her parents at their heated-stone spa, but feels suffocated by her huge family. In her spare time, Tae-hee helps a young poet with cerebral palsy by typing for him and, like Ji-young, wants to escape Inchon but has few career prospects. Inseparable identical twins Ohn-jo and Bi-ryu (Eun-shil and Eun-joo Lee), meanwhile, seem perfectly content to stay put, selling their handmade beaded jewelry on the street. The film is structured around three reunions, which Jeong uses to chart the ways in which the friends have and haven't changed, and uses a small cat, which Ji-young finds in an alleyway and is passed from friend to friend, to keep the four story arcs linked. Although laced with humor and a few fanciful touches, the film is a refreshingly serious look at young women whose relative freedom doesn't mean they're particularly free, and whose strongest bonds are wireless cell phone connections that won't keep them together for long.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Korean filmmaker Jae-eun Jeong's strong feature debut is a perceptive drama about five high-school friends from the industrial port city of Inchon, who find it increasingly difficult to remain close after graduation. Haughty and ambitious Hae-joo (Yo-won L… (more)