Forever the Moment [우리 생애 최고의 순간]
Moon So-ri (문소리), Kim Jeong-eun (김정은), Eom Tae-woong (엄태웅), Kim Ji-young (김지영)
DVD, VCD, VHS
The Athens Olympics are approaching and Korea is looking for gold in
every sport. Korean women in particular have done well in almost areas
except for the ignored and looked down upon sport of Team Handball. And
when the team is assembled, it doesn’t look when the players who show
up are women in their 30s ad teens with piercing. Can this oddball
group overcome their personal differences and hardships and somehow
come together as a team?
In Forever the Moment, Director Lim Soon-Rye (Waikiki Brothers) provides an exciting and eye-opening account of the true story of the 2004 Korean Women’s Olympic handball team, who fought bravely against Denmark for a shot at Korea’s third gold medal in the sport. The team was led by Olympics veterans, perhaps past their physical prime, but wholeheartedly committed to reestablishing Korea’s dominance in the event. They face obstacles along the way, including difficulty establishing themselves as a force to be taken seriously because of the advanced age of the team as well as conflict with the team’s rookies. The ensemble cast of established Korean actresses demonstrates an enormous amount of skill and delicacy in their portrayal of complex social interactions. Mi-Sook (Moon So-Ri), a veteran player who won a gold medal in Barcelona, is dragged back into the game by her old friend and rival Hye-Kyung (Kim Jung-Eun), now the 2004 Olympic Team coach.
Some of the film’s turns and twists may be fictionalized, but Lim has created scenes of the final round that is so rich with emotion and excitement that one almost forgets that Forever the Moment is a staged film and not actual footage of the Olympic Games. The end-credit inclusion of real-life footage and clips lends the film additional emotional weight. At a time when Korea’s national handball has been relegated to the back burner, the film offers a timely depiction of an extraordinary team.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the film is its not-so-subtle political message: Lim gives spectators a vivid and engaging reminder of how long women in sports have struggled to triumph over the forces of discrimination- forces that continue to affect them even today. Lim’s depiction of the team’s plight would seem somewhat crude if it were not, by all accounts, a sadly accurate portrayal of what many players in unpopular sports and teams have experienced. Rather than settle for a conventional sports story, Lim has folded together a story of women’s success and a story of athletes’ success to create a searing spectacle of hard-won personal salvation.