Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
KCS Korean Movie Night: Architecture 101
anything say “I love you” better than a high-maintenance low-profile
commission? It will be a heck of a
house, but whether the architect and his client will rekindle their lost love
is far less certain in Lee Yong-ju’s Architecture
screens Tuesday night as part of the Korean Cultural Service’s free Korean Movie Night in New York.
rough around the edges Lee Seung-min is his firm’s best architect, but his boss
is far better dealing with clients. At
least, he is now somewhat less socially awkward than he was as an undergraduate
architecture major. Needless to say, he
is quite surprised when Yang Seo-yeon, the girl who broke his heart freshman
year, hires him to rebuild her family home on Jeju Island. Despite her hotness and his geekiness, they
had partnered together for their intro to architecture class project, which
gave them the opportunity to take many long picturesque walks together through
Seoul and also thereby providing the film with its title.
reluctant to accept the commission, his work brings back all the painful
memories he feared, as the audience sees in flashbacks. Of course, the end of their chaste pseudo-courtship
was considerably more complicated than he realized at the time. It sure would make things neat and tidy if
Lee and Yang could just pick up where they left off, but he has sort of moved
on since freshman year.
you probably mostly know the score from here.
Director Lee delivers most of the anticipated melodramatic goods,
flashing forwards and backwards between the pair of star-crossed couples,
erecting barriers to their unspoken love in each time period. Still, 101
is notable as a major departure from his previous film, the religiously themed
horror movie Possessed. There are no spinning heads here. In fact, Lee exercises admirable restraint,
by genre standards, largely trusting the circumstances of the central
relationship to carry the film without a lot of added heart-string pulling.
Tae-woong is actually rather grounded and reasonably manly as the adult
architect Lee, whereas his younger analog can be difficult to watch mope about. Still, it is not hard to understand why he
fell for Bae Suzy’s ethereal coed. Han
Ga-in also portrays Yang’s grown-up disappointments for affecting honesty and
there are all kinds of manipulation going on in 101, particularly with regards to the song that never quite became “their
song.” However, the house that Lee
builds is quite striking. Architectural Digest readers look for a
weepy love story should inhale this film.
While the exact structure was not built to last, the café “Seo-yeon’s
House” now stands in its place, remodeled in a style reminiscent of the
As a film, 101
never transcends its genre, but viewers in the mood for a sad romance will
find it competently done and likely pretty satisfying. Not classic, but better than the cynical
might expect, Architecture 101 screens
for free, courtesy of the Korean Cultural Service, this Tuesday (6/11) at the
Tribeca Cinemas in New York.
Labels: Korean Cinema, Korean Cultural Service