After losing both her parents, Failan (Cecilia Cheung) emmigrates to Korea to seek her only remaining relatives. Once she reaches Korea, she finds out that her relatives have moved to ... See full summary »
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After losing both her parents, Failan (Cecilia Cheung) emmigrates to Korea to seek her only remaining relatives. Once she reaches Korea, she finds out that her relatives have moved to Canada well over a year ago. Desperate to stay and make a living in Korea, Failan is forced to have an arranged marriage through a match-making agency. Kang Jae (Choi Min Shik) is an old and outdated gangster who has no respect from his peers. Short on money, Kang Jae decides to take on the arranged marriage. Having nothing more than a picture of Kang Jae, Failan spends her days dreaming and wishing that Kang Jae would come to visit her. Failan often writes to Kang Jae in sorrow about how much she misses and thinks about him, but never has the nerve to give the letters to Kang Jae. Things take a turn when Kang Jae is asked by his boss to take the fall for a murder in exchange for some money. The only hope in his worthless life is the wife he never met. Written by
Basia & Moj...
A treasure meant to be found: Eloquent, Subtle and Heartbreaking
'Failan' is the sophomore feature film of director Song Hae-seong, who made a big splash in 1999 with another time-twisting romance called 'Calla'. This time around, he works with acclaimed Japanese novelist Jiro Asada (reknowned for his best-selling novel 'Love Letter' which had been previously made into a memorable Japanese film in 1995).
Song has created a stirring romantic tragedy of immense emotional wallop that it's not easily shaken. Executed with the same quiet subtlety seen in other recent Korean romances (such as 'Il Mare' and 'Christmas in August'), 'Failan' poignantly and convincingly illustrates the tragic missed opportunity between two ill-fated star-crossed lovers while eloquently showing what it means, and how it feels, to be in love.
Despite having never met, they end up giving each other the dignity and self-respect that their lives had been missing for so long. Unfortunately, the realization of what he meant to Failan comes to Kang-jae comes too late, leading to the film's most heartbreaking scene, which is compounded by the irony of how she treasured what he quickly forgot or cast off.
As the film's titular character, Cheung easily does the best work of her career. Her sympathetic turn as the quiet Failan is a marvel to watch. Two of the film's more memorable sequences: Failan using quick-thinking to avoid being sold to a strip club, and the heart-wrenching first night at her new home. It is also easy to see why Choi, as Cheung's love interest, is one of Korea's most popular actors-- despite his character's slovenly appearance and boorish behavior, Choi evokes sympathy for Kang-jae with a nuanced performance that reveals the man's insecurity and gentle spirit.
This indeed goes without saying that 'Failan' is one of the best films of the year.
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