Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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A Love


Canadian Premiere

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Director: Kwak Kyung-taek
Screenplay: Kwak Kyung-Taek
Cast: Joo Jin-Mo, Park Si-Youn
Producers: Park Young-Jin
Distributor: Lotte


What could be more wonderful than true love, the real thing, the kind that happens at first glance? Few people have the chance to feel it in their lives, but In-ho found it already in his youth with the lovely Mi-ju. Fate can be cruel, though, as when it obliges Mi-ju to leave town for reasons unknown. The pair do find each other again years later, but bad news seems to hound Mi-ju, all alone following the horrific deaths of her mother and brother. In-ho swears to stand by and watch over her, knowing full well that misfortune remains an eternal millstone around her neck. Mi-ju has come into the clutches of a particularly unsavoury crook, and the outcome of this awful situation drives Mi-ju to flee for japan and plants In-ho in prison. His time served, In-ho is released only to fall in with a gangster, and it is only in the direst of circumstances that he will again see the woman he loves.

With tortured love at its core, A LOVE is unquestionably a resonant drama, but not at the expense of action-packed entertainment. Director Kwak Kyung-Taek (TYPHOON, Fantasia 2006) dexterously juggles his genres, settling on a cross between a sweeping chronicle like Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, Kim Ji-woon’s poignant and punchy A BITTERSWEET LIFE and of course classic love stories like ROMEO AND JULIET. Following the same semi-autobiographical path as his tremendous hit FRIEND, Kwak draws inspiration here on the experiences of his childhood friends, injecting great credibility into his tale. The same flair for realism informs the fight scenes in A LOVE, episodes of brutal and unvarnished violence in which one genuinely feels those involved are fighting for their lives. A LOVE is far from the syrupy romance the title suggests, but rather a descent into a heartbreaking reality where destiny does the devil’s work.

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)