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What Is Not Romance?

Watch the trailer

What Is Not Romance?

(Romangeun Eobsda)
Sponsored by: CinéAsie & Korean Film Council

International Premiere

  • South Korea 2009
  • 70 min
  • HD
  • Korean with English subtitles

Genre

DramaComedyAnimation

Screening Times

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Credits

Director: Hong Eun-ji, Park Jae-ok, Soo Kyoung
Screenplay: Hong Eun-ji, Park Jae-ok, Soo Kyoung
Cast: Park Ji-yoon, Jeon Jin-ah, Jeong Hyeong-joon, Im Ok-gyoon
Producers: Korean Film Academy
Print Source: CJ Entertainment

Part of...

Camera Lucida   

Spotlight:
Camera Lucida

Part of...

Korean Cinema   

Spotlight:
Korean Cinema


Screens with...

Ledo and Ix Go to Town   

Ledo and Ix Go to Town

Canadian Premiere
USA
2009 | 8 min
English language

Push

Description

Mr. and Mrs. Hwang certainly didn’t picture their 27th wedding anniversary being spent at home in company of their four children. With rain falling outside and work in the morning, it seems wiser to stay home for the night. Although not very romantic, spending quality time with the family never hurt anyone. It’s an opportunity to share some memories, and the Hwangs have eagerly grabbed it. However, no nostalgic reminiscing about the good old days is taking place. On the contrary, the events being recalled are far from glorious and perhaps best left forgotten. From a ruined amusement-park vacation landing them in a “love hotel” in Seoul’s red-light district to the disastrous first encounter between Mr. and Mrs. Hwang, the realization quickly dawns that the family has been through an impressive amount of petty miseries and pathetic failures throughout the years. As the evening unwinds, a question arises—as it is obvious that their marriage is an unhappy one, why the devil do they insist so much on staying together? Through their parents’ tales, the children will try to find an answer, and possibly a solution to their deplorable family situation. Luckily, all is done with a smile since, after all, when confronted with our parents’ eccentricities, it’s better to laugh than cry!

As irresistible as it is touching, WHAT IS NOT ROMANCE counters an erroneous preconception that persistently bedevils animated cinema, Asian works especially. In detailing the Hwangs’ domesticity, it proves that the genre is able to treat mature themes with as much eloquence as actor-driven productions. Closer to Mizoguchi than Oshii, WHAT IS NOT ROMANCE? paints a realistically sweet-and-sour picture of a family like any other. No spectacular surprises, only life in all its splendid banality. This penchant for understatement is also reflected in the minimalist animation that recalls a child’s drawing with its subdued colours and thick-lined, chalk-like character drawings. The directors, however, do take advantage of the medium’s freedoms by using a few creative techniques to bring welcomed jolts of insanity into the story. By focusing on the anecdotal, WHAT IS NOT ROMANCE? shows Korea as it is rarely portrayed, with tart, deadpan humour and, ultimately, a lot of genuine love.

—Simon Laperrière (translated by Guillaume Desbiens)

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