In the first episode of "Don't Worry" wild child Hyeon-joon (played by Lee Si-hoo), desperate to resolve a bad situation, enlists the aid of taxi driver Choon-gil (played by Jung Ji-soon) to chase down his tormentor. Alas, this was a poor move on Hyeon-joon's part, as Choon-gil is a bit of an idiot. And that includes when it comes to romance, as Choon-gil fantasizes about the young, vibrant Hyeon-joon. This gets to be especially inappropriate as Hyeon-joon grows increasingly agitated with Choon-gil throughout the night. Lucky thing they're both gay.
...Yes, "Anxious Mind" by director So Joon-moon does strike me as the kind of short film that gets a pass mainly by dint of its essential weirdness. It took me a long time to realize that Choon-gil was, indeed, a mentally challenged gay taxi driver and not some sort of weird serial killer. This leads to decent catharsis by the time I finally figured out Choon-gil was not a bad guy. By the end, I even felt sorry for Hyeon-joon. Is he aggressive? Sure, but come on, the kid just felt into the wrong crowd.
Next up is "Pinky Finger" by director Kim Hyun. This one is more of a genre standard, albeit a fairly well done one. It's about former lovers Hyeok (played by Kwon Ki-ha) and Seok (played by Park Jung-geun) meeting together again at a job interview. Memories comes to surface of the good times and the bad times, as we're left to ponder whether the relationship was a success, a mistake, or just a thing that happened.
"Pinky Finger" is uplifted somewhat from strong performances and once again, the whole gay angle gives a distinct tinge to the proceedings that makes it feel oddly fresh. This is mainly through the background details. Hyeok and Seok are less young gay men as they are young men who happen to share interests. That this story inevitably leads to heartbreak is, well, just a part of being young I guess.
The final story, "Sowongil" by director Sin Joong-hoon-i, doesn't involve any gay stuff. Instead, it centers around Jeom-soon (played by Park Myung-shin), an older woman who supplements her meager income by waiting on the street corner at night and selling hand jobs to various bored men. It is...not a good profession, obviously, and it's not totally clear that Jeom-soon really needs the money. All the same, better to have it than not, right? You can't keep giving hand jobs forever.
Jeom-soon's story is one of solidarity, as she slowly grows close to fellow independent contractor Eun-ji (played by Go Won-hee). Though technically they are rivals, basic humanity is supposed to go beyond that, you know? The twist is a tad predictable, but overall Sowongil, like the two short films that precede it, buoys its material through the use of strong performances and flawed characters who endearing because they make that all important effort instead of just quietly giving up. "Don't Worry" is, as a result, a very good anthology.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Don't Worry""
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