Saturday, January 23, 2010
'Virgin Snow'- Offbeat,sweet Korean romance
There are some movies that dont figure in anybodys list of must watch Korean movies. 'Virgin snow'(2007) is one of those which seems to have got lost in spite of being a very good movie. The thing is this is not one of your typical films but watching this is like sitting for a couple of hours in a coffee shop and reminiscing about your long lost love.
The plot is something like this-
Min(Lee Jun Ki) is a young 24 year old South korean guy who follows his father to Japan to live with him for a year. The father is a visiting professor in a Japanese university. Min takes this opportunity to see and experience life in Japan. One day he runs across Nanae(Aoi Miyazaki) and falls in love with her.
Coincidentally they find themselves at the same university and he courts her in a very cute manner. Since he is from Korea and she is from Japan, their conversation is greatly limited by the language problems but that does not dampen their enthusiasm to know one another better. He starts learning Japanese and she tries to understand Korean terms.
However Nanae has some bad family problems which cause her a lot of grief. One day Min learns of his grandmother's ill health and has to travel back to Korea. When he returns, Nanae has disappeared without a trace. Why she does that and how Min tries to figure his life out is the rest of the story.
I was very happy that the ending is a happy one cause Korean movies are so inclined towards sad endings.The virgin snow makes its impact in the ending and justifies the name of the film. I don't know why but the first snow has a lot of romantic associations with it in Korea.
Min's role is played by Lee Jun Ki who is apparently quite famous in Korea and I thought he played the part really well. He does a good job showing the lovers anguish and pain of separation.The Japanese girl takes a bit of time to get used to but she is also easy on the eyes.
One thing you get from the story is that lack of direct communication at the right time can seriously screw up relationships. But most lovers have this problem expecting their partner to magically understand everything so :)
There is a nice incident where the couple takes a boat ride when the girl tells Min that couples who take a boat ride on that lake eventually break up. Min retorts that there is a 'Doldam' bridge in Korea where the same break up belief holds true. But he tells her that there is also a concept that if a couple goes on a date in the first snowfall, they will be happy forever. So he suggests that they should go on a walk on the Doldam bridge in the first snowfall and that will cancel out the bad luck and solve their problem. It was one of those simple but beautiful romantic conversations that people have on dates.
Japan and South Korea are neighbours and have some kind of fascination with each other's cultures which is apparent from their movies. This film did very very good business in Japan according to wikipedia. Another thing that I appreciated is that the story shows us Japanese culture and things. I think the Japanese words for thank you is 'Arigato' and bye is 'Sayonara'. It is cute to see the two central characters struggle and encourage each other to learn basic words. Love even overcomes language barriers.
I liked the movie and found it to be quite entertaining. It is a tad slow no doubt but thats the best part of the story that without any drastic melodrama or plot devices, it still holds your interest. Watch 'Virgin snow' when you have some time and bask in a world where love can conquer despite misunderstandings and place and culture differences.