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[HanCinema's Hall of Fame Review] "Sunny - 2010"

2013/11/30 | 741 views | Permalink

In the Spotlight this Week: "Sunny - 2010" by Kang Hyeong-cheol

We all have those moments in our past that we yearn to try piece together and return to in some way or another. Sometimes all we are able to muster are memories, those fragile and illusive parts of ourselves that dissolve and drift away the more our worlds change for better or worse. Kang Hyeong-cheol's "Sunny - 2010" is a heartfelt coming-of-age drama that stares fearlessly into the past in order to salvage the beautiful friendship of seven young woman. It is not often a cinematic event like this comes along that is able to capture life's cruel twists and turns while still being able to paint a silver lining thick enough for us all to grab hold of. It made millions, won awards, but outside of all its commercial successes and the praise, "Sunny -2010" will perhaps be remembered as a personal cinematic memory all by itself - just waiting to be recalled and danced to all over again.

It's been years since Na-mi has seen her closely-knit group of friends from high school, and while not entirely dissatisfied with her current life, she does feel that some part of her has been lost along the way. While visiting her mother in hospital, Na-min discovers that her old friend Chun-hwa is fighting a losing battle with cancer. With only a few months to live, Chun-hwa asks her old pal to get the gang back together for one last time. Na-mi hires a private detective to help her round up the member of the group, woman who have all grown up hard and none are really living with the zest and hopefulness that they all felt when they were young. As Na-min slowly makes contact with each of them, the film continual alternates between the tough present and the good old days when these seven bright, loving, and supportive friends lovely freely and deeply.  

Sunny takes us back to their school life during the 1980s where yellow sweaters were trendy, Nike and Adidas sneakers were a schoolyard must, and music radio ruled the airwaves. "Rocky" was on circuit, Gwanju was a political hot potato, and Boney M's cover of Sunny was this groups track of choice as they danced, cried, and pulled each other closer together despite their differences. It was a simpler time, but not totally carefree. These young souls were still creating and shaping themselves, discovering together their own unique personalities and learning to love each for who they each were. Their were clashes and upsets, conflicts and crisis, but in the end what matter most was the groups willingness to be true to themselves, real to others, and remembering when you needed to just let it all go and dance like their was no tomorrow.

It was a smashing success, attracting more than seven million cinephiles during its mid-year showing, and is currently the seventeenth highest grossing Korean movie of all-time. Its director was also responsible for the 2008 family comedy "Speedy Scandal", another top achiever that sold more than eight million tickets. Kang currently just has these two features out, and we are still waiting for his next feature "Tazza: The Hidden Card" to hit Korean theatres sometime soon. "Sunny - 2010" was also shown as film festivals in France, India, England, America, Japan, and Austrialia and remains a huge crowd pleasure will all those who questing towards the sunny side of life, both past and present.

- C.J. Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com@KoreaOnTheCouch)

 

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