You may define your own banner on the settings page.
FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
Dave Chua
Brandon Wee
Wong Lung Hsiang
Felix Cheong
Foong Ngai Hoe
Adrian Sim
sieteocho
Chris Khoo
O Thiam Chin
Lau Chee Nien
Sinnerman
Ambient Noise
Drakula
daface
Sarhan Rashid
Ying Wuen
Liverbird
Ellery Ngiam
Toh Hai Leong
Toh Hai Leong, Auteur
Wong Kar Wai
The Seduction of Wong Kar Wai
Tsai Ming Liang
Lav Diaz
Mikio Naruse
Leslie Cheung
Jonathan Foo Interview
Chinese Ghosts
Assassins in Asian FIlms
Sex in Asian Cinema
Erotic Cinema of the Shaw Studios
Homosexuality in Chinese Films
My Left Eye Sees Creativity
Hollywood Remakes
Comic Book Superheroes
One League of Social Consciousness
Emerging Trends in East Asian Cinema
Postwar Korean Cinema
Decline of Hong Kong Cinema before 1997
Bollywood
Rise of Afghan Films
Singapore's Mini Cinema
Creating A Singapore Cinema
Why Cinema is Important to Singapore
Singapore Film Industry
Rites of Passage
Replying to Critics
Daniel Yun Interview
Singapore International Film Festival
Bangkok International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
Writer's Block
15
19
2046
Acacia
All Tomorrow's Parties
And Also the Eclipse
Another Heaven
At Five in the Afternoon
Audition
Avalon
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Bangkok Haunted
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Batang West Side
Battle Royale
Bear Hug
Beautiful Boxer
Beijing Rocks
Bend It Like Beckham
Best of Times
Betelnut Beauty
Big Durian
Big Shot's Funeral
Bird Man Tale
Blackboards
Blissfully Yours
Blue Kite
Bounce Ko Gals
Brighter Summer Day, A
Butterfly
Cafe Lumiere
Cat Returns
Chinese Odyssey 2002
City of Glass
City Sharks
Clean
Color of the Truth
Color Blossoms
Confucian Confusion
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Water
Desire
Destination 9th Heaven
Divine Intervention
Dolls
Double Vision
Dumlings: 3 Extremes
Enter the Phoenix
Era of Vampire, The
Eye, The
Eye 2, The
Eye 10, The
Face
Fat Choy Spirit
Floating Weeds
Fog of War, The
Formula 17
Friend
Full Alert
Garuda
Gemini
Ghost in the Shell
God or Dog
Golden Chicken
Golden Chicken 2
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Grudge
Guru, The
Hana-Bi (Fireworks)
Harold and Kumar
Headlines
Hero
Hidden Blade, The
Homerun
House of Flying Daggers
House of Fury
House of Sand and Fog
Howl's Moving Castle
Hypnotized
I Not Stupid
In the Mood for Love
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs III
Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
Install
Iron Ladies 2
Isle, The
Jan Dara
Jealousy is My Middle Name
Joint Security Area
Ju-On: The Grudge (2003)
July Rhapsody
Khakee
Korban Fitnah
Koroshi
Kung Fu Hustle
Lan Yu
Last Life in the Universe
Last Samurai, The
Legend of Zu, The
Liang Po Po
Love/Juice
Love Letter
Lucky Number
Marry a Rich Man
Me Thao
Medallion, The
Metropolis
Monrak Transistor
Moveable Feast, A
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
Musa the Warrior
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
My Neighbors The Yamadas
My Sassy Girl
Naked Weapon
Name of a River, The
New Police Story
Nobody Knows
Nobody Knows How to be a Film Critic
One Leg Kicking
Ong-Bak
Perfect Blue
Phone, The
Ping Pong
Pirated Copy
Princess D
Quill
River, The
Road Home
Romance of Book and Sword
Runaway Pistol
S Diary
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
Samsara
Scent of Green Papaya
Seoul Raiders
Sepet
Seventeen Years
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai Knights
Shaolin Soccer
Shower
Shutter
Singapore Gaga
Skywalk is Gone
So-Called Friends
So Close
Someone Special
Song of the Stork
Spider Forest
Spirited Away
Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring
Stories About Love
Storm Riders
Summer Holiday
Sumpah Pontianak
Super Size Me
Surprise Party
Swing Girls
Tale of Two Sisters, A
TalkingCock
Tears of the Black Tiger
Teenage Textbook Movie
This Charming Girl
3-Iron
Three: Extremes
Tokyo Raiders
Touch, The
Tree, The
Truth or Dare
Twelve Storeys
Twenty-Four Eyes
Twins Effect
Twins Effect 2
Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors
Visitor Q
Volcano High
Warriors of Heaven and Earth
Waterboys
Way Home, The
Welcome Back Mr McDonald
Wesley's Mysterious File
When I Fall In Love With Both
Wishing Stairs
Wolves Cry Under the Moon
Woman is the Future of Man
Women's Private Parts
World Without Thieves, A
Zombie Dog
A Time to Live A Time to Die
e-mail me


   This Charming Girl  



 

This Charming Girl

Reviewed by Toh Hai Leong

Korean Title: Yeoja, jeong-hye
Director: Lee Yoon-ki
Writing Credits: Lee Yoon-ki
Cast - Kim Ji-soo, Hwang Jung-min
Genre: Drama
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year Released: 2004
Runtime: 99 min

Lee Yoon-ki, South Korea's acclaimed film director, scripted this sensitive, intermittently ponderous debut feature, This Charming Girl. It depicts a 20-something quirky (or strange) Jeong-Hae, brilliantly portrayed by television actress Kim Ji-soo. She lives a quiet life, insular and routine which is characteristic of a postal employee in a small neighborhood post-office, somewhere in Seoul, South Korea's alienated and alienating capital.

She keeps the neat and tidy apartment by herself. So, what's so special about this attractive, kind, calm, seemingly detached and unattached young woman living in Seoul? This good-looking charmer of a reticent lass, though, is quite out of sync with normal human society. One visual clue is her false eyelash sometimes gets out of her place.

It is through some whiplash flashbacks of Jeong-Hae's encounters with others that we are given glimpses into her quiet, eccentric personality.

That she is faithful to the memory of her late artist mother. She takes on a stray, cutesy kitten she later nurses back to the pink of health. When it responds to her, she is reminded of her mother’s painful death and funeral. In one scene, she is seen having a strained lunch with a boyfriend who tells her he is getting married to another woman.

He turns out to be the ex-husband she left sleeping on their conjugal night, without so much as an explanation. She seems not to be enjoying the physical sex with her amour.

One day, a shy postal customer-writer comes into her lonely life and out of caprice or due to the possibility of breaking out of her emotional blockage - her inability to love is due to the childhood trauma of sexual molestation by an older man - she invites him to dinner at her apartment.

The consequence of this prearranged date results in another botched attempt to reach out and she ends up taking care of a young alcoholic drunk in a motel room - no sex involved as the man is too drunk to hump her into physical sex.

The feline cat serves as a surrogate for a boyfriend or husband she would like to have and hold.

All in all, this "charming girl" traces, somewhat ponderously and mundanely the memories of Jeong-Hae who tries to get hold of her life and the great loss of her mother's early death, tormented by the impressionable incident of sexual molestation or rape in her childhood. All these "happpenings" in quick flashbacks, are very Freudian in nature ... and make her a withdrawn, quiet and quirkily quiet woman.

Be forewarned... Like Tsai Ming-Liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn, The Hole ... and Michelangelo Antonioni's films like L'Avventura and The Passenger ... there are long instances when very little happens ... you get to see Jeong-Hae eat a plate of noodles or play with her pet stray kitty, watch television, double-lock her door or just plain look into empty space ... and at 99 min of celluloid time, some of the mundane scenes feel like an eternity.

But this is not to discourage you to see this great little cinematic gem. This heartfelt, true and quirky debut unlike most big commercial super-stars-driven Korean films like My Sassy Girl, Joint Security Area or Gingko Bed, etc., will engage you to the understated if not powerful debutant performance of strangely attractive if not talented Kim Ji-soo who reminds me of a Korean lady I used to be gaga over!

It does not give all the answers but instead gives us a peek into an all-too-real psychological and spiritual malaise of a modern Korean woman in contemporary highly urbanized and lost Seoul [sic].

Winner of the NETPAC award at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, the Lotus Jury Prize at the Deauville Asian Film Festival 2004 with the New Currents Award's Top Prize award at the 2004's 10th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), This Charming Girl is something to root for and see.

It is, by far, Kim Ji-soo's outstanding big screen performance and it is a fascinating character study of an ordinary charmer of a young Korean woman who looks to heal some old psychic and spiritual wounds and come to terms with the possibilities of life and love.

Highly Recommended. It will be screened at Prince One Theatre (Shaw cinema) on Thursday 28th April 2005 at 7 p.m..