Award-winning director Lee Jeong-hyang’s ‘A Reason to Live’ delves into questions of forgiveness
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 (email@example.com
송혜교 “심은하 선배와 비교되다니 영광”
톱스타 송혜교가 주연을 맡아 기대를 모으고 있는 영화 ‘오늘’의 제작발표회가 26일 서울 피카디리 롯데시네마에서 열렸다.
영화 ‘오늘’은 약혼자를 죽인 17세 소년을 용서한 다큐멘터리 PD 다혜(송혜교)가 1년 후 자신의 용서가 뜻하지 않은 결과를 불러오면서 겪게 되는 혼란과 슬픔, 그리고 그 끝에서 찾아낸 찬란한 감동을 그린 영화다.
이정향 감독의 전작인 ‘미술관 옆 동물원’의 심은하와 비교되는 것에 대해 송혜교는 “원래부터 심은하 선배의 팬이였고 예전부터 좋아했었다. 정말 기분 좋은 일이고 영광스럽다”라고 솔직한 생각을 밝혔다.
이어 이정향 감독은 “‘미술관 옆 동물원’의 춘희(심은하)와 ‘오늘’의 다혜(송혜교)는 너무나 다른 캐릭터이기 때문에 비교자체가 어렵고 생각해본 적이 없다”고 전했다.
‘집으로’, ‘미술관 옆 동물원’의 이정향 감독이 9년만에 메가폰을 잡은 영화 ‘오늘’은 송혜교, 송창의, 남지현, 기태영등 이 출연하며 오는 10월27일 개봉 예정이다. (헤럴드 생생뉴스)