Season of Good Rain
In director Heo Jin-ho’s films “Christmas in August”, “One Fine Spring Day”, “April Snow” and “Happiness”, the time of happiness lovers were allowed to feel was extremely short. There were people living on limited time, those engaged in passion-dead relationships or ones who could not overcome the barrier between each other. So was it that perhaps, he wanted to compensate for those lovers who made long-lasting and strong memories like no other, but were unable to see a happy ending?
Heo, along with actors Jung Woo-sung and Gao Yuanyuan, held a press conference at the Megabox multiplex in Dongdaemun on September 8 for “Season of Good Rain”, a film that is “happy, unlike previous movies”. After feeling special emotions toward each other while studying abroad, Mei (played by Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan) and Dong-ha (played by Korean actor Jung Woo-sung) reunite on a business trip in China. Not knowing it was love back then, the continue to exchange warm tingling sensations and start seeing each other. Like rain that falls as if it knows it is the time to, could the fluttering within their hearts become real love?
The scene where Dong-ha and Mei run into each other at Chinese poet Du Fu’s cottage --the highlight of “Rain”, a film “about the timing of the emotion love”-- remind the audience of such heart-tingling scenes from the director’s previous films, such as the bamboo scene in “One Fine Spring Day” and the raining scene in “Christmas in August”.
But Jung and Gao, who look too beautiful to just be ordinary lovers, effectively revive the fluttering emotions between a man and a woman, the most important element in a melodrama movie. The two characters did enough to tickle the hearts of single people unwilling to go on dates with the appropriate amount of the female character’s innocence and charm, a well-timed gift and an unexpected provocation. Could “Rain” achieve the director’s purpose to make “a film that makes [the audience] want fall in love in autumn”, as effectively it stimulated viewers' desire to go on dates with its trailer video? For those singletons who want to test their desire to go on a date or want secondhand satisfaction, the movie opens on October 8. The following is from the official interview with the director and lead actors.
Heo: The previous movies are about the process of a man and woman meeting, falling in love and parting. “Rain” is a story about two people who have met but couldn’t confirm their love for each other due to bad timing, and then meet again to achieve bright and happy love. I hope the viewers hearts pound from watching the movie.
Q: I think your personal circumstances, getting married and having a child, must have influenced the change in direction of your films.
Heo: My child is about six months old and so adorable. (laugh) And I think, “I can’t believe such happiness exists in the world," but it wasn’t just over a personal reason. I wanted to make a bright and light movie, unlike the ones I’ve made in the past.
Q: The title “Season of Good Rain” gives off a unique vibe.
Heo: The background of the movie -- the cottage of Du Fu, a poet during the Tang Dynasty -- is important for the movie. So naturally, I got the title from Du Fu’s poem. “Season of Good Rain” means that ‘a good rain falls knowing it is the right time to’, and I thought I could deliver the idea that there is a timing for love. And personally, I like titles that give off a feeling of the season.
|Korean actor Jung Woo-sung [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]|
Jung: I received many scenarios from the director over the years, but I honestly was hesitant every single time. I was worried about whether I could really express the subtle feelings, the emotions of love that dig into you like ripples on waves. So I was extremely worried even when I did want to take on his films. But this time, the story was about a love which is ordinary yet shined and had a spark. And I thought I was old enough to express this kind of love, so I decided to do it.
Q: Truthfully, it is not easy to imagine Jung Woo-sung appearing as an ordinary man. This is a different image from the flawless, cool characters you’ve played up till now. You're playing almost a like a middle-aged man.
Jung: In a way, it was sort of secondhand satisfaction getting to play an ordinary businessman. I had a desire for that kind of natural experience because for one, I have a pretty limited ordinary life because of my profession and I've also never fallen in love with a classmate. By playing Dong-ha in “Rain”, I was able to feel the beauty of ordinary life that I couldn’t experience before. And if I’ve reached the age where I need to accept the image of a middle-aged man, then I will try to change the definition of middle-aged man to a perfect man. (laugh)
Q: Was there a particular reason Chinese actress Gao chose to do a Korean director’s film?
Gao: It was an honor just to be given the opportunity to choose, rather than saying I chose to do it. I had always been such a big fan of the director -- so much that I used to go see all his films on the opening day. So I was very glad to get to work with him. I became a fan after watching “Christmas in August” and “One Fine Spring Day” confirmed that my thoughts about love were developing.
|Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]|
Heo: I was actually very worried about the language barrier. But once we started shooting, like the saying ‘there is no border in love’, they hit it off very well. I liked filming the two of them in one frame, since they look so much better together than any other two people.
10: The chemistry between actors is important in a melodrama. Wasn’t it hard acting with a foreign actor?
Jung: We were saying our lines in English, which isn’t the native language for either of us, and I think that actually helped. In the beginning, when we were trying to understand each other, it was like the process of falling in love. Even couples that speak the same language misunderstand each other and go through the process where they learn to adjust to each other. Going through that adjustment period was a fun experience.
Gao: Like the director said, I felt like there is no border in movies just as there is no border in love because people who watched even a small part of “Rain” all said that they “want to be in a romantic relationship”. I also felt like I achieved the dream of love because I had great chemistry with Jung Woo-sung. The audience will probably feel that I am someone in an ordinary, loving relationship rather than a big star who is acting as if she is in love.
Q: You had such great chemistry that in the behind-the-scenes footage, Jung looked very disappointed to hear that Gao had a boyfriend.
Jung: I was really disappointed. These days, I hate to hear an attractive woman say, “I have a boyfriend” (laugh). Gao is very innocent and understanding and from our conversation, I could see she was a great actress who wanted to work on her inner aspects. I personally thought she was a lovely lady.
|Korean film director Heo Jin-ho [Lee Jin-hyuk/10Asia]|
Heo: Jung and I go back a long way. We almost got to work together on my debut film but like the title “Season of Good Rain”, I was happy to get to work with him at a good time like this. Just like the actor he is who wants to become a director, he sometimes had better ideas than I did on set. My ego was a little hurt by that (laugh). In a couple of scenes, his ideas as a director were reflected and they worked better for the film.
Q: Like director Heo said, you’ve been preparing for a long time to become a director. Are there any tips you have picked up from Heo while doing “Rain”?
Jung: He asks for an unbelievable amount of patience from the actors on the set (laugh). The previous films I worked on had a lot of short takes with a fast flow. But Heo thought a lot about expressing emotions that exist in spacially -- those that may not be seen with the eye. So the takes naturally got lengthier and I learned the advantages of doing long takes. It was a very valuable experience.
Q; Last question. How would you like the audience to view “Rain”?
Gao: There is a Chinese proverb that goes “If you work with passion, everything works out”. That is how I worked on the film. I tried to express the love that can be found in everyday life and I hope the audience feels that love is beautiful by watching the movie.
Heo: I hope more people see this film than all my previous movies (laugh). It just so happens to open in the fall, which I think is a good time. And I hope when the audience watch the movie, they feel like they want to fall in love this autumn.
Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye email@example.com
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Lynn Kim email@example.com
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