VERY ORDINARY COUPLE
Directed by Roh Deok
Best Feature Film, Asia New Talent Competition, 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2013 New York Asian Film Festival
Best Actress, 2013 PaekSang Arts Awards
It begins with a breakup. One so serious our young heroine can no longer watch her favorite K-drama. (That’s pretty serious.) The ex-couple insists on indifference, but a trailing documentary camera reveals otherwise. A box office hit that beat out G.I. Joe 2, VERY ORDINARY COUPLE is about a very ordinary relationship, but one with all the absurdity of love-in-denial and the pitfalls of self-diagnosis gone awry.
Funny, smart, refreshing, and unrestrained, VERY ORDINARY COUPLE lives in this charming sweet spot – a mix of dry humor and a fleshy earnest heart, beating to the everyday cadence of a Seoul overflowing with young workers. Dong-Hee and Jang Young are bank employees in an uneasy romantic truce, bartering between outbursts and delicately balancing the unruly and the polite. They break up, date, and break up again, spy on text messages and new dates, all while keeping their status a secret from their co-workers.
The film builds to the very real possibility of Dong-Hee and Jang-Young’s separation, one that’s as heartbreaking as it is fully acceptable. This is a smart outcome for a romantic comedy. Even smarter is that the film unfolds with utter realism without ever losing its light comedic cover. Lee Min-Ki and Kim Min-Hee’s performances are meticulous – internal registers of cagey doubt, exhaust fumes, and crisp happiness, swimming like goldfish underneath a young Seoulite’s cautious observation post. They deliver the daily muscle tension below the surface of commitment. This is why tears are instantly triggered no matter how settled a person may feel, and why two people might reevaluate and try again. –Christina Ree
Co-presented by: Korean American Bar Association of San Diego (KABA-SD)