[INTERVIEW] Director Kim Tae-yong - Part 2

최종수정 2011.02.25 18:28기사입력 2011.02.25 18:28

Director Kim Tae-yong [Beck Una/10Asia]

Beck Una: I think the set-up and how the characters are dressed shows that you’ve kept from pointing to an exact time period in the movie. And it sort of seems like it is set in a world where analog is mainstream -- maybe the 20th century? Is this also something you did on purpose?
Kim Tae-yong:
Yes. The characters and they way they meet, it’s all a bit like from the old days, right? I wanted Seattle to seem like a place where people live but also is foreign. The U.S. is where Hoon and Anna live but they are still regarded strangers there so I wanted it to seem a bit removed from reality, somewhere that isn’t a place for living but neither a traveling destination.

Beck: Are there any scenes that you shot but had to be taken out?
Kim: You know that I like singing and dancing in movies. (laugh)

Beck: I remember you saying that you had to take out the scene where a Filipino mother sings a lullaby to her baby in your human rights movie “Girl on the Run” because of copyright issues. But you had actress Kong Hyo-jin fly into the sky while singing in “Family Ties” and a dancing couple appeared in “Late Autumn” as well.
Kim: That’s right. That’s why this time around as well I asked Tang Wei to sing. (laugh) There was supposed to be a scene where Anna sings a Chinese song to herself and Tang Wei is a great singer. So she practiced for a month and we shot it but… It seemed weird once I sat down to edit it. So it’s a shame but I took it out. The singing was good, it’s just that I shot it wrong.

Beck: I’m sure there must’ve been a lot of people who quietly wondered when the man and woman’s body and hearts would explode while watching the movie, but it ended with just a kiss. (laugh)
Well, I was pressured by the level of affection or bodily exposure there should be in the movie because Tang Wei had received global attention through “Lust, Caution.” But I was more concerned with whether Anna and Hoon’s emotions could reach the point that they become passionate about each other. I did write a single line that said, ‘passionate sex scene’ in the script but I kept worrying about it. That’s why I thought of different ways to go about it… whether it should be a scene where they have intercourse but without bodily exposure, or whether they should do it on the bus when nobody is there… but it all seemed weird... Stupid and fake. So I think we ended up failing to find an answer and decided to go with a very careful and delicate kissing scene. A kiss that is long enough that they'll keep going when you think they're going to stop and nothing more happens when you start wondering whether they’ll go further. (laugh)

Beck: I think that choice heightened the solitary mood felt about the two characters, and lessened the vibe of the movie being an easily comprehendible romantic movie, making viewers wonder whether what the two felt was love or they were just consoling each other since they were both lonely.
That’s what I kept thinking about too while shooting the movie. I wondered whether their relationship is about love. I also do think that two people hugging each other means that they love each other because they could've just been cold! (laugh) I thought it would be nice to express the feeling of being able to hug someone, regardless of whether it's because it’s cold or you feel lonely.
Beck: Personally, the last scene left the strongest impression on me but it's not just me -- a lot of people have been talking about it as well.
Kim: It’s not easy to come to feel that you want to wait for someone. And I felt that her feeling that she wants to wait for someone was more important than whether she had fallen in love with Hoon or not. You’ll see that Anna’s face is smiling slightly in that scene. Very slightly. That wasn’t about her being happy or sad because she's expecting someone to appear but about her having found an ease to be able to wait for someone. I think I felt that it would be nice if it ended that way.

Beck: Some people have said they were disappointed by the movie because they went to the theaters to see Kim Ju-won from “Secret Garden” while others have confessed the movie has been lingering in their hearts for days so the response is quite split. What were you seeking for through “Late Autumn”?
Kim: Before, I had a story, I wanted the audience to know that story so I expressed that through films but "Late Autumn" was a movie that I thought a lot about in terms of what it is to make movies. There's a camera, a person in front of that, that person feels certain emotions, and a person who will stimulate that person will appear and affect that person. So I started to ask questions like, 'Will the camera be able to capture that mood that is drifting between these two people?' as if I were a freshman in college. "Late Autumn" wasn't about people on the move because something happened but people bringing incidents about when they move. And there are many things that move people including curiosity or desires, but I wanted to observe or discover whether it is possible for films to show what why characters are moved when they themselves don't know what's moving them.

Beck: Tang Wei’s face in “Late Autumn” looked more beautiful than any other actress’ face I’ve lately seen in movies … A truly beautiful face which does not spare you the time to think of whether she has a tall nose, large eyes and a egg-shaped face which are considered the objective standard to beauty nowadays. As the director, when do you think Tang Wei’s face created the prettiest moment?
Kim: When she smiles, very slightly. Anyone can smile brightly, smiling slightly is what’s difficult because it shows that person’s history. I thought that tang Wei looked beautiful when she puts on that smile.

Beck: I agree. It’s sometimes hard to notice one’s true worth when the energy that actor gives off is just strong and powerful.
Kim: Of course. That applies to both actions and words.

Beck: So does that mean that you too will continue to do movies that are like that subtle smile? (laugh)
Kim: No. (laugh) After filming “Late Autumn,” I’ve been thinking that I want my next movie to contain a very passionate emotion, whether it be someone wanting someone desperately or someone hating another person to an extreme. “Late Autumn” is actually about people who are not aware of their desires or emotions. But their hearts happen to tremble when they come across each other by chance. I think I tried to capture their emotions of ‘What is this I feel?’ So in a way, it’s about people who are a bit passive. I want my next movie to contain characters who will be aggressive enough to think, ‘I will do this today even if I may go to hell tomorrow!’ (laugh) I used to avoid doing movies containing so much passion because I was afraid of such emotions but I think “Late Autumn” was at the ending point of that fear I held. I think I’ll be able to express more heated emotions now. What should I say this is… Curiosity? It’s not confidence…

Beck: Courage?
Kim: Yes! Courage. I guess I have a bit more of that now.

Beck: Well I heard that you are courageously preparing your next movie. It seems that your pace of working is picking up compared to the past. (laugh)
Kim: It felt like “Late Autumn” would tie me down for a long time if I didn’t make the effort to run away from it. It is still lingering in my heart. I think it’ll hold onto me and not let go if I don’t run away from it. (laugh) It took me seven years after “Death Bell” to release “Family Ties,” then four years till “Late Autumn,” so I may come out with my next movie two years later.

Beck: At that rate, you may be shooting a movie a week by the time you’re 80!
Kim: (laugh) I want to speed it up now.

Beck: Well you’ve hosted a television program on movies, lectured at colleges, produced theater plays, shot music documentaries and appeared in traveling programs. This may sound like a silly question but I sometimes wonder what it is that you want to do.
Kim: Well I sometimes force myself to answer questions like what sort of person or director I want to be remembered as or if there is a single direction I’m headed to. But I actually don’t think I have an answer. I’m hoping that the curiosity and interest I have in my life is consistent but I don’t think I’m heading toward something consistent. And it’s not like I want to do something to reach a single goal. I think this curiosity and interest I have will zigzag it’s way through and one day, find that it is heading for something. I myself am very curious what it is that I want to do. (laugh)

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Editor in Chief : Beck Una one@Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Jang Kyung-Jin three@
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