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Sumin is an orphan trying to balance work in a factory with study at an art college and an evening job. One night, a rich young businessman makes an advance on him during one of his driving jobs. They meet again the next day: it is during a round of redundancy cuts at the factory where Sumin refuses an attempt by a man (who is in fact the boss' son Jaemin) to save his job. Eventually, Sumin is seduced into working as a prostitute in an up-market boy-brothel as Jaemin's obsession with him grows, leaving Jaemin helpless in the face of his overwhelming desire. This is a film of bold sexuality, where unexpected passion, desire and misunderstandings wreak havoc of an operatic intensity.Written by
London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
Brilliant gay-themed drama - superb performances, direction
I was very surprised at the quality of this film. Script, direction and performances were superb. It is a gritty, often violent romance between two young men of different classes and the love that almost destroys them.
Su-Min is an 18 year old orphan who comes to the city of Seoul, Korea to find work so that he can put himself through college and gain an education. He works at a variety of jobs, one of which is a car service. Here he meets the tortured Jae-Min Song, a wealthy closeted young man, who is trapped by his parents into a soon to be heterosexual wedding.
Jae-Min falls hard for Su-Min, who rejects him because of his contempt for the rich and careless. When Su-Min loses his jobs, he turns to a life of prostitution in an all-male brothel, where Jae-Min tracks him down as a client, only further gaining Su-Min's contempt.
It is Jae-Min's true love and constant pursuit of Su-Min that finally wins him over. The jaded Su-Min allows himself to return the love, but the road to happiness is paved with many pitfalls, all arising out of the class hatred and opposite backgrounds of the two protagonists.
The film's first half occurs almost always at night in murky and oftentimes unpleasant locations. When love blossoms it is all sunlight playing over naked bodies. Then night falls once again.
The script is very believable in depicting the conflicts of the main characters, although it has some plot continuity problems at times. The subtitles are poorly written and spelled, but one can grasp what is happening at all times.
Both Lee Young-hoon as Su-Min and Kim Nam-gil as Jae-Min turn in extraordinary emotional performances - every nuance from elation to grief is superbly expressed. Director-writer Leesong Hee-il in his first feature has the firm control over every detail of a veteran film director and does an astonishing job here.
This is the best gay-themed film to come out of Asia and the Pacific Islands thus far and is close to masterpiece status. One of the great film experiences for gay audiences.
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