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- Movie: A Reason To Live (English title) / Today (literal title)
- Revised romanization: Oneul
- Hangul: 오늘
- Director: Lee Jeong-Hyang
- Writer: Lee Jeong-Hyang
- Producer: Song Hyun-Young
- Cinematographer: Kim Hyoung-Ju
- World Premiere: October, 2011 (Busan International Film Festival)
- Release Date: October 27, 2011
- Runtime: 119 min.
- Genre: Drama
- Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
- Language: Korean
- Country: South Korea
Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki Staff ©
TV producer Da-Hye (Song Hye-Kyo) lived through a miserable childhood. Her parents fought all the time and finally divorced. Da-Hye then found her prince charming and was engaged to marry him. Then on a rainy night, the day before her birthday, Da-Hye's friend Ji-Suk (Song Chang-Ui) calls and asks for a ride from her fiance (Ki Tae-Young). When her fiance arrives, he finds out that Ji-Suk has already gotten a ride from his sister Ji-Min (Nam Ji-Hyun). As Da-Hye's fiance walks back to his car he is hit by a motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle then turns around and fatally runs over her fiance.
One year later, Da-Hye has forgiven the teenager who killed her fiance. She believes that he still has a chance to turn his life around and it's better to just move on. Da-Hye has quit her TV job and is now working on a documentary about forgiveness requested by the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, Ji-Suk's younger sister Ji-Min comes over to Da-Hye's apartment and stays there indefinitely. Ji-Min complains that her father, a respected judge, is physically abusive towards her. Da-Hye believing Ji-Min is exaggerating asks her to be nicer to her parents. Ji-Min helps Da-Hye as she goes to interview various family members of murdered crime victims. During these interviews, Da-Hye thinks back to the teenager who killed her fiance and starts to have doubts on whether she should have forgiven the boy so easily. Da-Hye burdened with this doubt seeks out the boy to see how he is now living ...
- Early Korean title was "노 바디 썸 바디" ("Nobody Somebody").
- Filming began December 1, 2010 and finished March 22, 2011. Final scene filmed took place on Namsan in Seoul, South Korea. The scene involved Song Hye-Kyo riding a bicycle along Sol Wol street.
Additional Cast Members:
Press Conference (Busan International Film Festival)
Press conference for "A Reason To Live" took place at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 8, 2011. Appearing as speakers are director Lee Jeong-Hyang, actress Song Hye-Kyo and actress Nam Ji-Hyun. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - After a long time I have made a new movie and come back in front of you. I feel a little embarrassed.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) Hello, I am Song Hye-Kyo who plays Da-Hye. I feel nervous because this is the first time showing the film. I hope it receives a favorable reaction.
- Nam Ji-Hyun (actress) - Hello, I am Nam Ji-Hyun who plays Ji-Min. I feel nervous because I haven't been in front of such a big press conference before. I haven't watched "A Reason To Live" yet, but I hope after people watch the movie they think about a lot of things and remember the film.
- Press Question - This movie isn't about ordinary daily life. I guess you might have personal reasons to write the original screenplay and then make it into a movie. I would like to know what were some reasons you decided to make the movie? For Song Hye-Kyo. While I watched the movie I kept asking myself if I were in Da-Hye's shoes what would I do? I was bothered by this question. You're the one playing the character so during filming were you bothered with such questions?
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - Before I debuted as a director I wrote the scenario to "Art Museum by the Zoo" and two other scenarios. The others were "The Way Home" and "A Reason To Live." I decided to make "A Reason To Live" into my third movie. I didn't have any personal reasons for writing "A Reason To Live." As a college student I read a short article in Reader's Digest which concluded that sometimes forgiveness can become a sin. After reading the column, I thought a lot about the subject and felt like my views changed. I thought I wanted to think more faithfully about that subject. I cut out the column and kept it ... and I still have it to this day. After I made my first movie and thought about future projects and gave deep thought into the subject matter in "A Reason To Live" I decided to make the movie. Even thought I have been taught to forgive as a Catholic, is it easy to forgive? Is the subject matter light enough we can sometimes talk about it recklessly? There are campaigns right now opposing the death penalty in our society. I thought in the center of that campaign the voices from the bereaved families of the victims should also be heard. I feel guilt for them. Even though I have not experienced their pain, from just a third person point of view I felt it was not right. The message I want to send through the movie is that we should not talk over the wounds of the bereaved families so lightly.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - When I first received the scenario, my character Da-Hye had hardly any emotional outbursts. Da-Hye holds everything inside, so I needed to focus on portraying her inner emotions. The most difficult part for me was if Da-Hye held all of her emotion inside could I deliver those emotions to the audience? Should I express more? I found it a difficult place to be in. Lee Jeong-Hyang helped me in this area and the acting came easier afterwards. Before taking part in this movie I didn't think about the subject matter much at all. I didn't know about the relationships between victim and perpetrator. As I listened to Lee Jeong-Hyang, read books on the subject and read the scenario I became more and more like Da-Hye. I felt anger and had questions. That helped me to portray Da-Hye, who gradually changed from not knowing anything. If these emotions never came over me, the acting would have been very difficult. It was difficult work, but, ultimately, came out easier than I expected.
- Press Question - This question is for Song Hye-Ko. After shooting this film have your thoughts on forgiveness changed? Could you forgive someone that killed your fiancé or anyone close to you? Could you see yourself forgiving someone in this situation?
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - Recently I have been asked this question a lot. Like my character Da-Hye I feel like forgiving the kid because he is still young and has a future, but on the other hand, my character's most loved person died so I also feel like I can't forgive the kid. I still don't know whether I can forgive him or not. While shooting the film, I thought about whether I should forgive if I could and the other person could move on, but I also thought I shouldn't forgive just to forget. From now on I won't use the word forgiveness so easily. I'll give careful thought before using that word.
- Press Question - While watching "A Reason To Live," I kept thinking of the movie "Secret Sunshine." I think that was because both movies deal with forgiveness. Can you tell us the difference of forgiveness in "A Reason To Live" and "Secret Sunshine?" Question for Nam Ji-Hyun. Do you think Ji-Min forgave her dad? Question for Song Hye-Kyo, how far has the movie "The Grandmasters" directed byWong Kar-Wai progressed?
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - I thought of the material for "A Reason To Live" 15 years ago. While I wrote the screenplay slowly over the years there were many novels and movies with similar topics that came out. Whenever one came out I was scared and nervous. Of course I watched "Secret Sunshine" when it was first released. I also read the nvoel "Byulre Yiyagi" by Lee Chung-Joon. I focused on the novel "Byulre Yiyagi." In the movie "Secret Sunshine" they did not describe what the kidnapper did or describe how he felt after being given the death sentence. I think that was intentional by the director (Lee Chang-Dong). When the kidnapper stated that he was forgiven by God in front of Jeon Do-Youn, I wasn't touched by that. I wonder what the position of a death-row convict is, what does he think of the relationship between religion and God, what was the intention of the offender to state that he was forgiven by God in front of of the victim? In the novel that part touched me heavily. The subject of what I am trying to send is different from the novel "Byulre Yiyagi." The novel is about the hypocrisy of forgiveness, but I focus on the wounds caused by third parties to the victim.
- Nam Ji-Hyun (actress) - At first I wasn't sure whether I really hated my character's father or just happened to have that type of mentally from being so tired mentally and physically. I worried about whether if my character forgave her father would he really have regret? Because of this, Ji-Min couldn't make a choice. She decides to withdraw into her own world. While acting, I thought a lot about what Ji-Min wanted. I don't think I understood perfectly, but with Lee Jeong-Hyang's direction, I assumed what the character felt.
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - I would like to add one more thing. The main theme of the movie is to not have people talking about the wounds of others so lightly or thoughtlessly. I also want to say that every criminal comes from a troubled background or have troubled parents. I felt Ji-Min and the young offender were like fraternal twins. But they behave differently. Ji-Min relieves stress by herself and the boy relives his stress upon others. I wanted to focus on the last words of Da-Hye. "Secret Sunshine," which focuses only on forgiveness is different from "A Reason To Live."
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - Filming for "The Grandmasters" is going well. As you might know, director Wong Kar-Wai has a slow style when it comes to filming. We're now filming the last scenes of the movie and additional shots. I think you might see the movie sometime next year.
- Press Question - For Song Hye-Kyo. I would like to know what you have learned from working with directors Wong Kar-Wai and Lee Jeong-Hyang.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - I have acted a lot in the past with characters that are fairly stationary. In the movie "The Grandmasters" my character is similar to my previous works, but I did learn a lot on how to act using body language. He taught me how to talk with my body, even during small conversations. I think from director Lee Jeong-Hyang I learned to act more using facial expressions. Also, with Wong Kar-Wai I am learning patience. With director Lee Jeong-Hyang I felt a lot of love during the filming.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - I think all actors have a thirst for acting. I am honored to work with such talented directors. Those directors all helped me to express my characters. I picked those parts because I knew if I was unsure about my character those directors would be able to help. Reading scripts, the ones I picked were unique characters that I have not done before. Like the movie "Fetish" with Soopum Sohn and the segment "Love for Sale" for the omnibus film "Camellia." I didn't have any specific plans on choosing projects. I read scripts and chose from my heart.
- Press Question - Question is for Song Hye-Kyo. Are there any difference between acting in South Korea and China?
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - "The Grandmasters" is my first Chinese movie. There were some parts that were difficult for me because I am a foreigner there, difficulties with language. Working in Korea, it's easier to act because I can communicate with the director unhindered by language barriers. Wong Kar-Wai and Lee Jeong-Hyang have similarities as well. They both care about small details.
- Press Question - Question is for Lee Jeong-Hyang. While filming "A Reason To Live" what kind of actresses were Song Hye-Ko and Nam Ji-Hyun? Are they right for their characters? Question for Song Hye-Kyo. What's your favorite scene in the movie?
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - Song Hye-Kyo and Nam Ji-Hyun's existence were like jewels to me. They brought to life characters I had written. During the filming of the movie I really felt I loved these actresses and cared for them like they were my children. That feeling I had never felt before. During the filming I said a lot of times that Song Hye-Ko's personality was like the moon and Nam Ji-Hyun's personality was like the sun. I do feel lucky to have met these two actresses.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - I don't know. While filming and watching the movie the most memorable scene for me is when Da-Hye goes to the priest and cries while talking. During filming of that scene I couldn't control my emotions.
- Press Question - What is the meaning of the (Korean) title "Ohneul" ("Today"). For Song Hye-Kyo, you might be compared with Jeon Do-Youn. What do you think of that?
- Lee Jeong-Hyang (director) - I picked the title after completing the last rewrite. The reason why I chose "Ohneul" ("Today") is that I hope the victims' families are consoled after watching the movie. If you can live for yourself today, then, eventually, you may be able to go back to your life before it happened. This moment of "today" is important. When were looking for an English title, I took Da-Hye's point of view and thought of words I wanted to say to the victims' families. The English title "A Reason To Live" then came out.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - I watched "Secret Sunshine" when it came out. I don't think "A Reason To Live" is similar to it. My character and Jeon Do-Youn's character are different and not really comparable. While filming the movie, the thought of "Secret Sunshine" never crossed my mind.
- Press Question - This question is for Nam Ji-Hyun and Song Hye-Kyo. Have you ever felt inspired to direct your own movies since they are so few women directors working and having worked with female director Lee Jeong-Hyang?
- Nam Ji-Hyun (actress) - I don't think I can. It's very difficult. The job of seeing everything.
- Song Hye-Kyo (actress) - I agree with Nam Ji-Hyun. Acting is still a lot of work for me.
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