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Plot Synopsis by AsianWiki Staff ©
35-year-old architect Seung-Min (Uhm Tae-Woong) receives a visit at his office from a woman. Seung-Min doesn't recognize the woman at first, but then realizes the woman is Seo-Yeon (Han Ga-In). Seo-Yeon is his first love, but he hasn't seen her since his freshman year in college. Seo-Yeon now has a request. She wants to hire Seung-Min to rebuild her home on Jeju Island.
15 years ago, Seung-Min (Lee Je-Hoon) is a naive young man beginning his architecture studies in college. He first meets Seo-Yeon (Bae Suzy) in his Architecture 101 class. As they work on a class project together, Seung-Min and Seo-Yeon begin to fall in love.
Back to the present day, Seung-Min is hesitant to take Seo-Yeon's job offer. Seo-Yeon persists and even goes to his boss with her wish. Seung-Min now has no choice, but to take on Seo-Yeon's home project. Old memories of love and heartbreak will soon resurface, as they find themselves at different junctions in their lives ...
- Filming began October 25, 2011. The first scene filmed took place at a cafe located in Hannam-dong, Seoul, South Korea. Filming finished on January 8, 2012 and took 11 weeks to finish. Shooting locations took place in Seoul and Jeju Island.
- Director Lee Yong-Ju majored in architecture in college and also has working experience as an architect.
- "Architecture 101" opened #1 at the South Korean box office during its March 23-25 opening weekend. The movie sold 565,020 tickets on 592 screens and accounted for 34.2% of all tickets sold that weekend.
- "Architecture 101" sold 4.1 million tickets in South Korea during its theatrical run.
- A limited edition "Architecture 101" DVD is released on September 19, 2012 in South Korea. The limited edition set comprises of 2 DVD's with bonus material including commentary (by director Lee Yong-Ju, Uhm Tae-Woong, Lee Je-Hoon and Bae Suzy) a making of segment, interviews and trailer. In addition a 328 page book is included as well as postcards of the four main actors.
- The house on Jeju Island that Seo-Yeon (Han Ga-In) hired Seung-Min (Uhm Tae-Woong) to rebuild was actually built specifically for the movie. After the movie, the owners planned to take down the temporary house and build a gallery and cafe named "Seo-Yeon's House". Due to the effects of Typhoon Bolaven in August, 2012, demolition of the house took place earlier than planned and was taken down September, 2012.
- Cafe "Seo-Yeon's House" opened on March 27, 2013. The cafe, which is remodeled from the home featured in the movie "Architecture 101," is located at 2975 Wimi-ri 1, Namwon-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju Island, South Korea. The cafe is open everyday from 10:30AM to 10:00PM. An opening ceremony was held on March 27, 2013 and actor Uhm Tae-Woong, actress Han Ga-In and director Lee Yong-Ju were in attendance.
Additional Cast Members:
Q&A (Busan International Film Festival)
Q&A for "Architecture 101" took place over two different sessions at the 2012 Busan International Film Festival. The first session occurred on October 5, 2012 with director Lee Yong-Ju and actress Han Ga-In. The second session took place on October 8, 2012 with director Lee Yong-Ju. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
Session 1 (October 5, 2012)
- Moderator: Architecture 101 spans two different time periods, with the 1990's being the past setting. That time frame became quite popular after the movie's release and we even call people from that time the "397 generation". How do you feel about starting this phenomenon?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): - As I mentioned in other interviews, I didn't expect the 1990's resurgence at all, because I wrote the original screenplay a long time ago. It just happened after the movie's release. I would like to thank the drama series "Answer Me 1997," which helped boost the retro trend. This trend seemed to help "Architecture 101" so I enjoyed it.
- Moderator: I have a question for Han Ga-In. You gained the attractive title of "Actress of First Love" and I think this year is something of a golden time for yourself with the hit drama series "The Moon Embracing The Sun" and "Architecture 101."
- Han Ga-In: You think so? I am happy to be loved by many people this year.
- Moderator: I hope I can see you in more movies. Can you tell me what this movie means to you?
- Han Ga-In: I talked with director Lee Yong-Ju yesterday at the opening ceremony about this. "Architecture 101" makes me want to appear in another good film very soon.
- Audience Question: During the ending credits I noticed a listing for a stunt director. I can't think of any dangerous scenes in the film. I’m curious which scenes did the stunt director work on?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): You can see more of this if you buy and watch the DVD. The stunt director appears in the "making of" segment on the DVD. In the movie, the stunt director was used for the scene involving Seung-Min, played by Lee Je-Hoon, when he has a physical confrontation with the taxi driver. Audiences might think that scene doesn't appear dangerous at all, but on the shooting set even small things can cause injury. We needed the stunt director for that scene. Another scene, which I worried over whether we needed a stunt director, is when Seo-Yeon, played by Han Ga-In, gets drunk and falls down. I told Han Ga-In and she said "I will do it." She fell down so naturally. I worried a lot if she would get injured, because she did it many times. I would like to thank her for falling down so many times.
- Audience Question: Two actresses portrayed one character and it turned out successfully, but, I think the actors and actresses had more difficulty with emotions?
- Han Ga-In: What the younger versions of Seung-Min and Seo-Yeon had is my character's past, so their scenes are very important to me. I actually visited the filming set a lot when Lee Je-Hoon and Bae Suzy filmed their parts and did the things that the younger Seung-Min and Seo-Yeon characters did. I monitored their scenes a lot to keep a similar feeling.
- Audience Question: I watched the director's commentary (on the DVD). In the commentary, you mention that you liked the scene involving the young Seo-Yeon, played by Bae Suzy, as she wound the old clock. I would like to know why that scene is special to you? And to Han Ga-In, what scene do you like the most?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): When I wrote the screenplay, I liked that part a lot. I didn't shoot this part, but the originally screenplay has a scene where young Seo-Yeon winds the clock in the empty house by herself and leaves the house. I think the scene with Seo-Yeon winding the click represents the past. We filmed that scene from a side view. When young Seung-Min draws on the map, we shot that scene from the side view as well. I wanted to show these two scenes as being connected. Also, I shot that scene with great effort.
- Han Ga-In: My favorite scene is when my character's father asks who Seung-Min is, when he is looking through the photos on the cellphone. I felt real melancholy when filming that scene. At the time, I was completely immersed in my character's emotions. Another scene that I really like is when my character opens the sliding door in the house on Jeju Island. Because, Seung-Min built the house for Seo-Yeon, the house means a lot for Seo-Yeon. I still have the image of Seo-Yeon opening the sliding door in my mind.
- Audience Question: This question is for Han Ga-In. When you read the script, what scene did you like the most? To the director, there is a line about guys who major in architecture being cool. I would like to know if you believe that and is that why you wrote it into the movie? Also, I would like to know if your next movie will be about architecture? I think because of the success this film had, your next movie will come out sooner than the time period between your first movie "Possessed" and "Architecture 101"?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): What "Architecture 101" means to me is to let architecture go. Architecture is like Seo-Yeon to me. That's why I originally prepared this movie as my first film. I won't make another movie about architecture, because I have my identity as a film director and not an architect. I don't know when I will make my next film. It takes at least 2 or 3 years to make a movie. Writing the script, changing the script and filming the movie. About architects being cool, I don't think so, but as a freshman, majoring in architecture, women, especially the young and pure girls, seemed to think that way. Girls from the dance major classes wanted to go on a group blind date with the architect majors, but the female class president of our major shot it down. I don't think architects are particularly "cool". Architects don't make a lot of money. When I made this film, I tried to depict architects in a realistic way. That's why the first scene is of Uhm Tae-Woong waking up in his office. I didn't want to depict a fantasy world, like other films or dramas, where all the architects are rich and always have time to meet women. That's important to me, because I was an architect.
- Han Ga-In: I liked the screenplay from the beginning. What attracted me to me it is the feelings I felt from reading it. I'm really satisfied with how it came out. My favorite scene when reading the script is when Seo-Yeon eats the sea mustard soup and says she will take care of her father. On the filming set for that scene, I was shaken emotionally. I think people around my age will think about their parents a lot.
- Audience Question: To Han Ga-In. You have a pure image, but in the movie you curse a lot. I have read that you are pretty easy going. I'm curious what the reaction was from your family and husband? To the director. I saw a picture of Han Ga-In sitting by the window, but you didn't put the scene in the film or commentary. Why did you edit that out?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I thought about it a lot, whether to put that scene in the movie or not, because it's an important scene for Seo-Yeon. I feel apologetic to Han Ga-In for not including it.
- Han Ga-In: In the movie, the "bitch" ("ssangyeon") is my character. There are several scenes when Seo-Yeon uses profanity. In reality, my personality is very easy going and not that different from men. My family knows well about my real personality and they are kind of worried my true personality might be revealed on TV. I think people know only about 10-20% of my real personality and they will learn more slowly. If they knew more, I think I will have more fun when I work.
- Audience Question: The ending felt similar to watching the TV program "Love and War." Why did you set the relationship between Seung-Min and Eun-Chae the way you did?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I worried about that part. I did think it might be too typical and I thought for a while about a different setup, but that would push the story further from reality. Also, I feel sorry for Koh Joon-Hee who played Eun-Chae. A lot of her scenes were edited out of the film. At first, I had the setup wrong. The scenes of her that were edited out were unnecessary. I accepted it for what it was.
- Audience Question: I hope you make more romance films in the future.
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I will not make any more love stories.
- Moderator: Then, what genres are you thinking about for your next movie?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I'm thinking of a totally different genre for my next film. I don't know, maybe I will make a romance film again, but I think I'm too old to think about love. I'm at the age where I think more about health than love. I'm still thinking.
Session 2 (October 8, 2012)
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): Architecture 101 was released on March 22, 2012. This is my last GV at the Busan International Film Festival. I'm sorry the actors could not appear here today. I first began to write the scenario for "Architecture 101" in 2003. Personally, I think this is the moment that I will let the movie "Architecture 101" go. After this GV, I will focus on my next movie. I feel like I'm letting my first love go. Thank you for attending.
- Moderator: This movie is about a couple who grew up in the mid 1990's. When you first planned this film, the 1990's weren't popular. Why did you set the film in the 1990's?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I began writing the scenario for "Architecture 101" in 2003, thinking this would become my first film. At that time, I was 34-years-old. The reason I decided to write the script is that I wanted to arrange my 20's. I just began working in the film field. My identity was more with architects rather than filmmakers. I felt like a stranger working in the movie industry. I also wanted to let architecture go, which was my first love, so I wrote this script. The original script looked back 10 years prior, but, as the movie's filming was pushed continuously back, we changed the time setting from the early 1990's to 1996 or 1998. I hoped the time setting wouldn't reach 2000. In the original script the time difference between past and present was just 10 years, but by the time we finished the movie the time difference was 15 years.
- Audience Question: I love "love stories" in movies. Along with "You Are My Sunshine," "Architecture 101" is my favorite movie. I would like to know which scenes were most important to you when you shot the film?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): Until the movie was completed, I went through a lot in a 10 year period. There are several scenes that made me keep going while I wrote the script. The scene where Seung-Min glances at Seo-Yeon on the bus. I really enjoyed shooting that scene, but I don't think it turned out as great. Another scene is when Seo-Yeon waits for Seung-Min in the abandoned house while it is snowing. As I wrote that scene, I cried. Those scenes made me complete the film. I can't watch my movie, because I blame myself for things like "why did I shoot it like that?" I did try my best.
- Audience Question: I would like to know if you had only one ending or if you had alternate versions?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): A lot of film producers turned my script down for 10 years. They made a lot demands about the script. They said the ending was too plain. One ending scene had Seung-Min, in the present day, going to Seo-Yeon in the present day. I told the film producers to make a choice. I like the ending which is found in this movie. Fortunately, Myung Films, who produced the film, said the ending is just right. The alternate ending with Seung-Min going to Seo-Yeon, in the present day, is too much like the TV program "Troubled Marriage Couple Clinic - Love and War." I realized that having the right work partner is very important. "Architecture 101" suits the taste of Myung Films and President Shim Jae-Myung. They have similar tastes to myself. There were many versions of the original scenario. One version even had the present day Seo-Yeon as a member of a pop group and that version had dance scenes for the present day Seo-Yeon. As I talked with Myung Films, we were able to go back to the original version.
- Moderator: After I watched the movie, I felt the movie focused more on the male character as it described his past?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): That is natural. I'm a man. I gave the DVD to director Bong Joon-Ho. Recently, I met director Bong Joon-Ho again. He just came back to Korea from the Czech Republic after filming "Snow Piercer". He told me "good job" and that he thought the film was about a man's yearning to hear "I liked you too." That was my concept.
- Moderator: I think the movie didn't describe the female character's emotions in the present day as much?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I didn't think about it that much. I edited out a lot of the scenes with the present day Seo-Yeon. This was my error, because I shot it wrong and we had too much material. The motivation for the film is the past and not so much the present day. Throughout the 10 years of having rewrites for the script, the past stayed pretty much constant, while the present day scenes changed a lot. I'll admit that is because of my limitations as a man. It's difficult for me to understand women. I regret that part.
- Audience Question: I think the movie is mourning the first love by a man who is about to get married?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I don't agree. Depending on the viewer, the movie has many different points of view. The movie is a love story about a first love, of course. But, I think the movie to me is a self-examination more so than a love story. A self-examination by a man who was a coward and immature. To me, the movie is more like an apology letter. The present day scenes are more important as a role in the apology. I didn't care as much about the present day male character. What I focused on when shooting the present day scenes, is the emotional level of the main characters when they looked back on their past. I thought about that a lot.
- Audience Question: I really enjoyed your film. One thing that bugged me is that actor Lee Je-Hoon wore makeup & lipstick in his flashback scenes. I know men in the present day wear makeup, but I don't think guys in the 1990's did? Everything else seemed on the money with the flashback scenes. Did you guys consult on the makeup? Also, can you describe the casting process on how you picked Uhm Tae-Woong to Lee Je-Hoon and Han Ga-In to Bae Suzy?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): Lee Je-Hoon did not wear makeup. He just had foundation on his face for tone adjustment. I cared about that, especially lipstick. The men didn't wear makeup on their faces at all. For the women, we planned how their makeup would appear. For Bae Suzy, she didn't wear makeup in the beginning. During the middle portion, she wore light makeup and the final scenes with her she wore excessive makeup. For Han Ga-In, at first she wore excessive makeup and in the middle portions she wore light makeup and for her final scenes she didn't wear any makeup. I planned this carefully. Maybe, Lee Je-Hoon wore lip gloss when his lips got dry, but I didn't think that was a problem. About the casting process. In the case of Lee Je-Hoon and Bae Suzy, they said OK. I gave them the script first. For the present day Seo-Yeon character, several actresses turned down the role before Han Ga-In accepted. I thought carefully about who to cast for the present day Seo-Yeon character, based on who were available. Before Han Ga-In took the role, she hadn't acted in a movie for a long time. After she finished "Architecture 101," she performed in the drama series "The Moon Embracing The Sun," which became a huge hit. I think the movie benefitted from the success of "The Moon Embracing The Sun."
- Audience Question: I like the scenes with Nabddeuckyi played by Jo Jung-Suk. How did you come up with the Nabddeuckyi character?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): That is me. I am like Nabddeuckyi. Now am I trying to look decent, but in private meetings I am like the timid Nabddeuckyi. President Sim Jae-Myung of Myung Films told me that my personality is a mixture of Seung-Min and Nabddeuckyi. When I wrote Nabddeuckyi's lines, I wrote it like I talk. I enjoyed it, but I worried if people would like Nabddeuckyi.
- Audience Question: What is your plans for your next movie?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): Life doesn't go necessarily as one wishes, but I don't want to make my next film like I did with "Architecture 101". I projected myself on "Architecture 101". Especially things like Seung-Min's mother, the old house, the old town and the first love experience. Because of these things, I consider this movie as my debut film. My actual debut film is "Possessed," but I didn't make "Possessed" like I did with "Architecture 101". For my next film, I want to work more objectively and not from personal experience. There's some talk about making a love story again or "Architecture 101 part 2," but I don't intend to do that. I want to make a movie with a different style.
- Audience Question: I like the song "Study of Memory" ("Giyeokui Seubjak") used in the movie. It seemed to make the movie even more emotional?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): The song was a strategic choice. At first, the background was set in the early 1990's and I couldn't use that song which came out in 1994. But, as the filming was delayed and delayed, the movie's background moved past 1994. I did think a lot over which song to use. After the movie's release, I realized we picked the right song. We did have a criteria for picking the song. The first was whether people in their 20's knew the song (they shouldn't know the song), the second is whether they remembered the song after hearing it and finally whether the song had a climax. "Study of Memory" fit those requirements.
- Audience Question: The house that Seung-Min rebuilt, he left in tact personal things like footprints and the measurements scrawled on the brick wall. What does that mean? Does Seung-Min want Seo-Yeon to start a new love?
- Lee Yong-Ju (director): I thought that was a consideration. When architects build a home, they should know the owner of the home. In order to build a home which suits the owner, architects needs to communicate with the owner a lot and know each other. Building a home is a loving process. Seung-Min thinks Seo-Yeon needs that and she actually needs that. I think Seo-Yeon is satisfied, even though she didn't say so with words. I think those things are from someone that knows the home owner very well. The last footprint was very important to me. After Seo-Yeon sees the footprint, she asks if he did that for her. I think building a home is like an extension. The process of extension is very important. Among 20 reviews for "Architecture 101," the one I like the most is written by Kim Hye-Ri for Cine21. According to her review, love and life are difficult to build anew. While holding on to the past, we just extend. I think what she wrote is just right. That is the reason why I wrote "Architecture 101" and that's the theme of the movie. I would like to express that visually with the house. So leaving a footprint, scribbles and marks are important meanings to me.
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