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- Movie: Characters
- Revised romanization: Kaerikteo
- Hangul: 캐릭터
- Director: Son Kwang-Ju
- Writer: Son Kwang-Ju
- Producer: Kim Sol, Son Kwang-Ju
- Cinematographer: Lee Hyeong-Bin
- World Premiere: January 31, 2011 (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
- Release Date: November 17, 2011
- Runtime: 100 min.
- Distributor: Film JoseE
- Language: Korean
- Country: South Korea
Lee Soo-Yeon was once an up-and-coming writer, but to make ends meet, works as an assistant writer for commercially successful movie director Moh Jae-Won. Director Moh Jae-Won consistantly makes the same formulaic films with cardboard thin characters. Nevertheless, Moh Jae-Won wants something new and these demands tires both Soo-Yeon and Moh Jae-Won. Soo-Yeon dreams of writing a novel and freeing these characters from its one dimensional world, but she realizes her dreams are thought of as "feminine" vanity...
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Q&A with dir. Son Kwang-Ju & actress Kim Su-Hyeon
Q&A took place after a screening of "Characters" at the 2011 Jeonju International Film Festival
on April 30th. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun
was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Moderator: "Could you give some background on the film?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "For my first feature long film I wanted to make a black comedy, but it was really difficult to find funding. I got frustrated by this and this movie is the end result of that. My situation and the situation of the film industry influenced me to write this screenplay."
- Audience Question: (to actress Kim Su-Hyeon) "What was your impression of the screenplay? What made you take part in the movie?"
- Kim Su-Hyeon: "After I watched the movie, the title seeemed suited for the film. When I had my first meeting with the director, it was for another character .. the top star in the film. I always think choice is a matter with compromise between reality or finding myself. When I read the script, I thought I had a lot in common with the main character. In the conversations with the director she accepted so I could participate.
- Audience Question: (to actress Kim Su-Hyeon) "What are some common traits between yourself and the character you played? Soo-Yeon seemed to be such a diverse character."
- Kim Su-Hyeon: "I think I have a brave and adventurous character. When I played Soo-Yeon, I felt lethargic. Like Soo-Yeon in the movie, who wanted to become free, I wanted that too."
- Audience Question: "In the beginning of the film an empty house or warehouse looked impressive. How did you scout that location? Also, in the movie there was a luxurious home, how much did the rental for that cost?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "We found that house easily. One of our staff members visited Sunmoo Island. There the staff found the house. And with that luxurious home, I used a personal connection. The scene with the president of the production company and the movie director talking in the villa, that villa was also a set from the drama series "Winter Sonata". When we scouted for shooting locations the owner of the home just changed, so I was able to use the villa for free."
- Audience Question: "I'm curious about the scene of the sea in the middle of the movie. A woman is dancing and at first the woman's hand is shown, but then changes to the scene of the movie. Why did you add this? Also, the movie seems to come from the director's real life experiences. Is the film industry really like what you described in the movie? Also, I heard the sound of factories in the movie, does that mean making movies is like a factory?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "I think its better not to explain why I put those scenes in the movie. I think its better for the audience to find the answer. My personal thoughts of the sea is like a place to want to go back. My own actual experiences is not in the movie. I have not been in the commercial movie field. The situation in the movie - we see a lot of that on TV. I just arranged this situation in that way of comparison. Keep making mechanically."
- Audience Question: While I watched the movie, I felt various feelings. The most impressive character is the director. Who is the director? What kind of thoughts does he have? As a student studying films, should students ask whether they are to pursue commericial or art films? What should take precedence in order to make a movie - what commercial movie people like or what the director wants? What would you choose?
- Son Kwang-Ju: "It is a personal choice. For myself, I will choose from the situation."
- Audience Question: "I wonder what your thoughts of reality are? When you directed the movie, what points of reality did you care about?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "The procedure for making a film is procedure for making a new reality. To do that, we need to erase numerous realities surrounding us. In the end, every reality is erased. Under the situation of non-reality, a new reality will be made."
- Audience Question: "How did you form the ideas to make this movie?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "It took a long time to get funding. Then there was a contest for long format independent films. I wrote this scenario for the contest. Finally, I was able to get financial support and able to begin. About how I got the idea for the movie. I think back to the black comedy. I could not work at that time and I felt alone. I kept thinking of an empty building, an empty place. Building something from nothing. For the contest, I developed the story from the empty building.
- Audience Question: "In the movie, your character is awakened in an abandoned building and doesn't seem to know if everything is real or a dream. The character goes outside. It looks like she is looking for something. When you performed that scene what was in your mind to make you run into the wilderness? Did the director let you keep running?
- Son Kwang-Ju: "At that time her condition was bad."
- Kim Su-Hyeon: "While I was running, I was thinking of the writer Soo-Yeon, the sea, sense of freedom and that I want to take back my self."
- Audience Question: "How many takes for that scene?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "We did not take many cuts."
- Audience Question: "In the movie an animal's head bone appears. Does it mean anything?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "The bone itself is not important."
- Audience Question: "Are you influenced more by art of films? What director or painter do you like?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "Depends on the movie I make. I think of many painters and writers. I collect a lot. In this movie, for the sea scene, I referred to a Japanese photographer who takes pictures of horizontal lines."
- Audience Question: "For movies?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "I was influenced by Chantal Akerman's 'Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles'."
- Moderator: "The Q&A portion has now run out of time. Could you leave some final words for the audience?"
- Son Kwang-Ju: "On May 4th, there is one more showing of my film and it is also sold out. I am so touched. I hope people are also touched by the film. Let me introduce Kim Su-Hyeon. She is a model and this is her first movie. She belongs to a big management company. When I asked her to act for my independent film, she readily said yes and worked very hard. Her taste for movies are vary sophisticated, so I also got help from her."
- Kim Su-Hyeon: "After this movie, I became interested in acting. I do enjoy movies. I felt watching movies and acting for movies is quite different. So I hope you refer to this point when you watch the movie."
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