After starring as the famous Joseon gisaeng ― female entertainer ― Hwang Jin-i and the mysterious daughter of a Korean shaman, Song Hye-gyo is returning to the big screen as a documentary filmmaker mourning the death of her fianc.
“When I pick movies, I don’t really think about whether the film I’m going to shoot is going to be a commercial one or an art house one,” Song told reporters at a press conference promoting the film, “A Reason to Live,” on Monday.
“The only thing I care about is whether I genuinely feel for the character or not. And I really felt I could express this character along with the director.”
The film’s Korean title is “Oneul,” which translates as “today.”
In the film, Song plays Da-hye, a non-fiction moviemaker whose fianc was killed in a motorcycle accident on her last birthday. Shortly after he died, she had forgiven the 17-year-old driver of the motorcycle, thinking that would bring peace to everyone. However, as she unexpectedly discovers what the 17-year-old has been doing since the accident and her forgiveness, Da-hye goes through a series of emotional turmoil and confusion.
|Song Hye-gyo stars in Lee Jeong-hyang’s upcoming film, “A Reason to Live.” (Lotte Entertainment)|
Actress Song Hye-gyo speaks (poses for a photo) during a press conference promoting her upcoming film, "A Reason to Live," in central Seoul, Monday.(Yonhap News)
“I’ve never had such an intense experience (like Da-hye) so it was definitely challenging,” Song told reporters. “The theme of forgiveness is never easy. There are scenes where I break down, but I also cared much about delivering the unexpressed emotions that are kept inside my character.”
“A Reason to Live” is the third film by award-winning director Lee Jeong-hyang, who took a nine-year break after her 2002 film “The Way Home.” A heart-warming tale about a grandmother who lives in a remote rural village and her city-born grandson, the 2002 film attracted some 4 million viewers, and won best picture and screenplay at the Grand Bell Awards that year.
Lee’s 1998 debut film, “Art Museum by the Zoo,” starred Shim Eun-ha, who still remains as one of the most significant and beloved actresses of the last decade even after her withdrawal from the entertainment industry in 2002, and won best actress and best emerging director prizes at the Grand Bell Awards.
“I took about two years off after ‘The Way Home,’” director Lee told reporters. “And I’ve only concentrated working on the script of ‘A Reason to Live’ since 2005.”
And it was Song who showed interest in the film even before the script was fully completed. She was the first actress to contact Lee about the movie.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of director Lee, and she doesn’t make a lot of films,” Song said. “So I contacted her first after hearing from a source that her new movie’s script was almost done. And I fell in love with the completed script when I finally got to see it.”
For Lee, who “does not write for particular actors or actresses” when working on a script, it was a surprise to hear from Song. “I didn’t think the Da-hye character suited Song, or any actresses, really,” Lee told reporters. “But when I met with Song in person, I was very surprised that she’s actually very different from how she is usually represented on TV. And I thought she’d match the Da-hye character. And things went well from there.”
“I want this film to be a piece of consolation to the real-life families of murder victims,” Lee said going on to explain its Korean title. “I think many laws in Korea are still indifferent toward them and their pains. Yet living with a grudge can make one’s life meaningless. My message is at least live your today for yourself, and nobody else, and maybe you’d eventually be free from grudges and resentments after repeating those todays over and over.”
“A Reason to Live” opens in theaters on Oct. 27. The film also has been invited to the Gala Presentation section of Busan International Film Festival (Oct. 6- 14) this year.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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이정향 감독의 전작인 ‘미술관 옆 동물원’의
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