3 Korean Films about Relationships

Gochugaru Girl watched 3 films on her flight to KL.


What has a Marxist revolutionary got to do with a tropical fruit?

There is going to be a lack of images for the next few posts until I can manage to work out the intricacies of blogging via an iPad.

Just imagine some suitable images in the meantime. Thinking keeps our grey cells healthy.

The strategy in taking an Emirates flight to KL via Dubai was this: I would watch 3 films on the first leg of the journey then sleep on the second. This I managed to do courtesy of the airlines’s wide-ranging entertainment offerings. There were at least 10 Korean films and later I slept listening to Chopin – there are 96 hours of his music here.

Why Korean films? I guess Korea is my current interest, just as France was when I was much younger. But I’ve ‘done’ France – culture, cuisine, countryside. And I am tired of French films which seem always to have no endings.

I don’t like not knowing what happens in the end. I can take sadness and tragedy but an ending which is like…

That drives me nuts.

Fortunately Korean movies have resolutions to their narrative (with the exception of ‘Gyeongju’ which Mr Gochugaru and I watched during the London Film Festival last year).


Film Number 1: Confession (좋은 친구들)


Three childhood friends are now grown-up men. Two of them try to help the mother of the third (without his knowledge) by staging an arson attack on her work premises, in order for her to claim on the insurance. Things go horribly wrong and their friendship is tested to its limits afterwards.

I was very touched by the portrayal of the long-lasting friendship but also saddened by events which shaped their characters in adulthood, some of which they had no control over.


Film Number 2: My Love, My Bride (나의 사랑 나의 신부)


Married life is not a walk in the park, it is a hike in the hills. That is to say, it is full of ups and downs and you need sturdy shoes and a steady pace.

This was an honest potrayal of the challenges facing new couples who have made the commitment to face the future together. There are some memorable lines here, especially from the elderly poet whom the (male) protagonist befriends.

A funny conversation from the film goes like this, when the guy is trying to chat up a girl in his office:

“Do you know anything about Che Guevara?”

“Umm…Che Gua…Gua…what?”


“Ah! I think I have…”


“It’s a fruit…guava fruit.”

I did take a photo of some guava at the local supermarket which I will add later. I think the moral of the story is: your wife may not be smart but sometimes she is not so far off the mark either. The guy had asked his wife the same question earlier and she said of course she knew about Che Guevara – he was a revolutionary from Cuba.


Film Number 3: Thread of Lies (우아한 거짓말)


This is easily one of the best Korean – and non-Korean – films I have watched, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever thought to themselves, “I am just too tired to listen” or “I am just too busy to deal with this” or “Just get on with it”.

That’s my attitude I am describing.

Based on a book, Elegant Lies by Kim Ryeo-ryeong, the story centres on the relationships around a teenager, Cheon-ji, who commits suicide. Her mother and sister try to unravel the circumstances that led to this tragedy. Although we may not be faced with a similar situation, sometimes just listening carefully and working out what is behind the words spoken can make the difference to a person’s life.

The film is very well-paced, the acting is superb, and there is enough grief, anger, introspection, grace and ultimately hope to keep you engaged in the lives of each character. Personally, if I were the Head of any senior school, I would make all parents and students watch this film. I say this as a mother of three children, with experience of having sat through countless lectures on engaging with teenage children. Nothing is as effective and as enlightening as this film.

It is now 7am local KL time and my alarm just went off. It’s time to get dressed and start the day. Good night if you are in London or the UK.


Wikipedia Links:


My Love, My Bride

Thread of Lies