Directed by Lee Yong-Ju
Closing Night Film, 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival
Nominee, Best Director, 2012 Daejong Film Awards
Best New Actress, 2012 PaekSang Arts Awards
First love is even more beautiful when it’s painful, no? When the heart cramps with confusion or longs in spite of one’s self. Yes, we’re talkin’ han, the Suffering – magic ingredient X of all Korean dramas. A 2012 Korean box office hit unusual for its resonance with male audiences, ARCHITECTURE 101 foregoes the melodrama and delivers instead a touching depiction of love that doesn’t land, and the near-miss that haunts the heart forever.
Helmed by an all-star cast (including Suzy from girl group Miss A), ARCHITECTURE 101 weaves between young and old Seung-min, a shy architecture student falling in love for the first time, and the now-professional hired decades later by the same woman Seo-yeon to rebuild her home. Adult Seung-min is resilient and coy, a believable evolution from hurt, except in his adult impulses we sense a young boy wandering blindly toward unfinished feelings. Thoughtfully reminiscing over 1990s Seoul (and resurrecting sales of Exhibition songs along the way), the film binds place indelibly with emotion, from a professor’s assignment to transform the city into a map of memories, to Seo-yeon’s final home built from their awkward history together.
Rising star Lee Je-Hoon (The Front Line, SDAFF Spring Showcase ’12) captivates as the young Seung-min. As misunderstandings accumulate, Lee’s face becomes the film’s touchstone, registering a heart losing its bearings and the disorientation between a young man’s modest hope and epic pain. It’s a mesmerizing tension to watch him holding his gentle heart at arm’s length, and a pleasure to watch love finally send him aflutter. –Christina Ree
Co-presented by: Korean American Coalition San Diego (KAC-SD)
Cast: Lee Je-Hoon, Bae Suzy, Uhm Tae-Woong, Han Ga-In