Beyond the Years [천년학]
Jo Jae-Hyeon, Oh Jeong-Hae, Im Jin-Taek, Ryu Seung-Ryong, Oh Seung-Eun
DVD, VCD, VHS
Dong-ho and Song-hwa are separately adopted by Yu-bong (Lim Jin-ta), a nomadic singer, and grow up as siblings. Dong-ho falls in love with Song-hwa, but he suffers from the fact that he has to call her sister and constantly fight with Yu-bong’s obsession to make her a great singer. Eventually, Dong-ho leaves home. However, with his unchanging affection for Song-hwa, he keeps following traces of his love while refining his drumming skills in order to match well with her singing. This is the heart-touching love story of Song-hwa, who devotes her life and love to her talent for Pansori (a traditional Korean form of narrative song), and Dong-ho, who has devoted his life to loving her.
Emotionally starved, with a severe lack of poignant acting.
Master film director Im Kwon-taek’s 100th film “Beyond the Years” while attempting to leave off from his previous legendary success of “Sopyonje” (although not marketed as a sequel for some reason), stutted and died a quick yet painful death at the box office attracting only 130,000 movie goers as compared to his 1.3 million for his previous film. It’s quite easy to see why. Jo Jae-Hyeon (“Hanbando”, “Bad Guy”) offered up a slight and emotionally listless performance where the character appears dazed and stumbles through the various scenes. His lack of emotion in specific scenes such as when he found out his son was killed, lacked the drama and tension needed to catapult the character beyond mediocrity.
The only saving grace for this film was the subject matter of traditional Korean song. It did plenty to showcase the vocals of Oh Jeong-Hae (“Sopyonje”) with lots of singing, but unfortunately her character appeared plain, and indistinct more frustrating to me than sympathetic to her situation. While i think that the movie might strike a chord (pun not intended) with those interested in Korean traditional song that don’t want to watch a documentary, those looking for a successful sequel to “Sopyonje” will be sorely disappointed.