Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Korean queer drama "No Regret (후회하지 않아) (South Korea 2006, 114 min., shown at Frameline 31) is probably the first Korean film I have seen that exclusively focuses on gay relationship and romance. No, "The King and the Clown" ("왕의 남자") doesn't count.
However, this film doesn't hold up the hype.
In "No Regret," Su-min comes from an orphanage home and tries to survive juggling between jobs and school in Seoul. On the job, he meets a rich guy Jae-min who becomes obsessed with Su-min. But Su-min resents Jae-min's affection and took a job at a local gay brothel being a prostitute. Jae-min won't give up and follow Su-min around until they become love birds on the big screen.
Will they live happily ever after? Of course not! This is not giving you out any spoiler. Remember? This is a Korean drama! So the film goes on to add some twists and crises of their relationship to the story.
But, they just don't add up. Although the actors are quite pleasing on the (gay) eyes, the characters are all single dimensional and viewers will remember their cute faces more than their stories.
The film doesn't really explain why Su-min suddenly changes his heart and takes Jae-min in after his long stubborn refusal. Then Jae-min's behavior seems equally incomprehensible when he is under pressure from his family to get married. The characters in this film are not as innocent as in "Formula 17" ("17 歲的天空"), but just like "Formula 17," they need a dose of intelligence.
That being sad, I still enjoy the sweetness and charm of this film. It's important to see a queer themed film from South Korea to say the least.
Note: This is originally posted on Feb 19, 2007. Back then, I said:
"This film will be perfect for Frameline, and I bet every dollar to claim that it will be included in June at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival."
And here we have it.