MOVIE CLUB: Once In a Summer Review
Once in an Autumn, a weekend was devoted to a movie about a summer romance. How many of you spent your weekend watching Once in a Summer? Did you cry as much as Lee Byung Hun did? Whether you cried or whether you simply watched the simplicities of this movie, join Qisti and Pamela as they venture into the impacts of history on the romance of this lead couple!
Watch Once in a Summer:
Pamela: To begin, I would say this movie was a worthwhile way to spend a couple hours this weekend...Once in a Summer never left me feeling bored, and when I wasn’t paying attention to how much time had passed, the minutes just rolled by. There wasn’t all that much complexity to the plot, but such a thing wasn’t necessary, either. I felt engaged [to Lee Byung Hun], and I enjoyed the feeling. How did you feel, Qisti-unni?
Qisti: One of the reasons why I decided to watch this movie was because I thought it would have had a youthful, throwback kind of feel to it. Kind of like when you watch Architecture 101, with flashback scenes with Lee Je Hoon and Suzy’s characters. Once in a Summer did leave a refreshing, clean feeling to me, like sitting on a beach. Wherever they shot this movie was absolutely gorgeous and fit the title perfectly. I agree with you Pamela, Lee Byung Hun’s acting was so engaging and, Soo Ae was just as great with being more subtle with her character. The only minor problem I had with it was the plot, or I guess more with the background of the plot. Although I did appreciate how it was centered around the couple, the political background of the movie threw me for a loop and left me confused.
Pamela: The political backdrop of Park Chung Hee’s dictatorship and the student protests were used differently than in some historically-based dramas I’ve seen. The chaos of the time was presented not as the characters affecting the changes that occurred, but as the time and changes affecting the characters, if I’m making any sense. This movie was set in 1969, in the middle of military general-turned-president Park Chung Hee’s leadership. Two years before, he had taken on a second term as president and promised that this would be his final term. Well...it wasn’t. He is respected now as a great leader who helped influence South Korea’s growth, but he was also very repressive, and his repression combined with the continuation of his regime, I think, were reasons why the protests were going on. Really, though, the protests, repression, and Jung In’s Communist ties were there to push the plot along and to…*sniffles* prevent our main couple from being together.
Qisti: Yeah, I kind of wished I knew that before I watched the movie because the whole time I was like why can’t ya’ll be together, what’s with all these warnings, and who cares about what anyone thinks. Then again, it’s been a while since I took a history class.
Pamela: To be honest, the only thing I knew going in was what I got from the MyDramaList page for this movie: it was 1969, and college students were...disconcerted...to put it mildly. Most of what I typed I got from looking at Park Chung Hee’s Wikipedia page just now...You didn’t necessarily need to know everything, though, to enjoy the romance and the early humor.
Qisti: Well said Pamela. We got a short history lesson in the process too. We learn new things everyday! On a sidenote: South Korea’s current president, Park Geun Hye, is Park Chung Hee’s daughter (also learned on Wikipedia, haha).
Pamela: *gasps* *chokes on air* You know, if Park Chung Hee’s government lackeys had only let Jung In and Suk Young be together, I would feel both educated and happy...There’s no shame in Wikipedia, by the way - as a high school student, I’m rebelling against my teachers right now after typing that. *hides in Jung In’s bookstore to escape glares*
Qisti: Their relationship was super sweet and adorable. It’s exactly what I would have wanted if I was in that kind of situation, minus all the political stuff. I think we really have to give credit to Lee Byung Hun and Soo Ae for their amazing acting. I feel like there wasn’t a lot of dialogue between them, but their actions and the way their eyes moved, well moved me. One of my favorite scenes was when they were in town and they just sat there waiting for the bus listening to music outside the shop. Barely any words were spoken, but you just knew what was supposed to be.
Pamela: That was such a sweet scene, I agree. Just sitting there together was enough to get the two to realize the feelings that were developing. There was a sort of simplicity about the couple that I loved. Together, they could experience the meaning of an otherwise plain rock, and together, he could make fun of her for lying about porn. The scene in which Jung In fake-read the pornography to the older men was humorous because of Suk Young’s laughter in the background, but the way he paid attention to her presence during work-time and got under her skin so easily meant a lot in terms of his interest in and devotion to her.
Qisti: The simplicity of the movie was the best thing it offered. It just made everything so beautiful and made my heart break even more for them. I couldn’t believe that she was reading a porno novel to the elders. I thought when she mentioned that the elders liked it when she would read books to them, it would have been like fairy tales or classic novels. But I was quite surprised when a lot of the elders couldn’t read. The whole letter thing from the head elder guy and his son was just really sad. Truthfully, I don’t think I could’ve done what Jung In did and lied about it.
Pamela: I’m not sure I would be able to fake letters from an old man’s son, either, but I understand her motivations. Jung In is kind at heart, and she was afraid of depressing the elder. She is a lot like some of us in that sense; we fear pain and discomfort to others and to ourselves, so we avoid some of the problems that bring pain. In the end, our actions can catch up to us, and so can our pasts. For Jung In, she had no choice in her Communism-tied past, and her attempts to pursue her own or other people’s happiness brought pain anyway.
Qisti: It was so unfortunate for her to have those communist ties. We all knew how much the villagers loved her, but when something goes wrong or she was just at the wrong place and time, those ties would just sneak up and ruin her world.
Pamela: Her father’s life choices were a double-edged sword for Jung In. She was loved because of her sweetness and her father’s assistance, especially to the head elder. But her relations with the villagers and with Suk Young were not able to be as smooth as she deserved them to be because of the negative stigma her father’s identity brought her.
Qisti: Don’t judge people before you get to know them, a lesson we can all learn and use. What did you think about the end? With him visiting that one place that Jung In recalled and leaving the fish stone there. I personally really liked it, it was a nice twist. We all knew that he was looking for her, but we hadn’t heard much of her and what she was doing. It was a nice feeling and some closure to the end of the of the movie.
Pamela: While the couple couldn’t be together in the end, there was a sense of acceptance surrounding the ordeal - this was found both in Jung In’s words to Suk Young and in Suk Young’s tears as he heard said words and picked through her box of memories. Her death was a twist, but it wasn’t a tear-jerking one because of that closure. I wasn’t expecting the bittersweet ending - thank you, random reporter people, for messing with my abilities of prediction - but the ending was realistic and simple, just like the movie.
Did you all make it out of the movie emotionally intact? What did you think about the movie and the things we did and didn’t mention? We enjoyed watching and discussing this movie, and we hope you did, too. Please comment below with your thoughts!
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