This may seem like another romantic love story, Korean at best - but it's 'one true love' defined, with no boundaries
Director Kim Dae-seung's debut feature, "Bungee Jumping of Their Own" (2001), screenplay by Ko Eun-nim, is not just another teen romance story - it's THE love story defined. If you think "Romeo and Juliet" is the all-time greatest of love stories, wait till you finished watching this film. True love knows no bounds, irrespective of what others may perceive or say.
For viewing appreciation, it's best not to read/know much about the film and simply let the story develop and unfold before your eyes. Have patience with the pair of young love getting upset and making up, apart and together. Those rainy scenes of walking, drenching, standing, with or without umbrella, are heartbreaking, cold and warm all at once. In-woo (the young man who became the teacher years later - central role) and Tae-hee (the young lady he helplessly loves) are clearly inseparable lovebirds. Director Kim presented the situations in the most natural way. Little details are revealed as the story progresses, and as we see In-woo teaching a class of high school boys, cut to at home he's talking to a little girl - so he's married with a daughter. Is it Tae-hee? Gradually, more periodic flashes of memory occur, and little observations like student Hyun-bin's drinking with little finger up, or asking a familiar question déjà vu.
The imaginative, thinking out of a box, approach in presenting the crux of the story is a bold directorial decision. Reincarnation has been done before, but this is "Heaven Can Wait" from a different perspective, and why not. You might say it's 'heaven can't wait'. A latter flashback key point reminds me of Spanish writer-director Julio Medem's (1998) "The Lovers of the Arctic Circle" - a film which is also about two inseparable lovers. The 'love only one person' theme (and a teacher role with wife and children) was tackled in the Hong Kong director Ann Hui's (2002) "July Rhapsody" (aka: Laam yan sei sap). I can't help but also think of Argentinean writer-director Eliseo Subiela's (1995) "Don't Die Without Telling Me Where You're Going," which has Subiela's trademark philosophical tones and exchanges besides fascinating storytelling.
The acting is sensitive and convincing; the cinematography is skillful and impressive (the beginning aerial sequence gives one a breezy feel); and the music has a calmness to it; also editing and sound (like the brief playing of "When I fall in love" just loud enough crooning in the background) - all fittingly complemented the script. It is refreshing to believe what happened or could happen to the central characters (three, essentially two) in "Bungee Jumping of Their Own." Is it possible? Seems logical. Why ever not?
I saw this film on a Region 3 DVD in Korean with English and Chinese subtitles options. (An All Region DVD player is a worthy 'investment' for 'serious' DVD film viewing.)
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