Director Kim Daehwan‘s THE FIRST LAP has a very sympathetic approach towards human relations. Putting in focus the complexities of life, Kim Daehwan in his characters brings out the fragility and firmness in them. The film highlights the changing culture in South Korea. Compared to the old times, the present is in a bit of contrast to it, especially on the issue of marriage. According to this film, which shows an unmarried couple living together, South Korea seems to be accepting the fact of living freely. Despite of all that, the remnants of the past still stand strong. This is evident when the parents of Ji-young(Kim Saebyuk) and Su-hyeon(Cho Hyun-chul) urge them to get into a matrimonial relationship. Then there is the issue of Ji-Young finding out that she has missed a period, putting the couple into a more puzzling situation. THE FIRST LAP Has A Sympathetic Approach Towards Human Relations
There is also a mix of politics in the film. A man heard protesting to arrest and impeach President Park quite evidently shows that the film is set in present times. Do these events have any effect on the young couple? We don’t know that, but it does lay a foundation of the environment and the situation the film is set in. The couple’s visit to a now closed down restaurant famous for its noodles might have been put in to show the repercussions of the political scenario of the country effecting businesses economically. Also, Ji-young’s mother predicts a boom in the real estate industry.
There are instances when the film seems to just go away from the story being followed. The tight silhouette shots of the actors within the car, with the road visible in the front, make it a bit hard to follow the visual emotions of the characters. The use of music is very minimal and the fim is filled with long continous handheld shots which shows that the actors and the cinematographer had rehearsed well before starting to shoot, or maybe, several takes would have done the job.
The film as a whole is a journey through time which shows a contrast between the young and the old, the past and the present and the traditions and values changing along with time. Kim Daehwan raises many questions, but leaves many unanswered. He raises an awareness to the different socio-economic issues rising in the country. The film is in a way a caricatured portrait of young South Korea, which at times finds itself tangled up in traditions of the old and the freedom of the present times.
Tags: 12th London Korean Film Festival 2017, London Korean Film Festival
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