For a long time on television, Ji Jin-hee wore the kind smile his character Min Jung-ho of smash hit TV series "Jewel in the Palace" wore. Even though Min was the only upright character he played. "Many people watched the show. And the TV commercials played a huge part too. I was wearing a suit in most of them, or were finance-related commercials so that image kept getting reinforced." That is why the path he took after "Palace" looked like his struggle to break free from Min. His advertiser complained because he ruined his image so much through the roles that followed -- as a hopeless libertine in drama "Miss Kim’s Adventures in Making a Million," a good-for-nothing cartoonist in film "Bewitching Attraction," an activist student out of prison in "The Old Garden," and a cruel hired killer in "Soo." It looked like he was attempting to scrub off his upright image completely but Ji's response revealed he was actually not too bothered. "I think having such an image is my strength since I can turn around people's expectations and make them surprised that I have different sides too."
His disposition of not denying what he already holds and has achieved, and rather trying to make more of it, is shown in the reason he likes to go rock-climbing. "I feel great joy whenever I reach a new height. There is nothing as honest as exercising because the results are based solely on your effort. Just like life." He who ruminates on life while exercising, said what he enjoys even more than the sport is to think. That is why the films Ji recommended are ones which make the mind think harder.
1."Stranger Than Paradise"
1984 | Jim Jarmusch
"Before I debuted, there was a special exhibition at the Daejong Film Awards which showcased masterpieces from around the world. And that's when I got to watch 'Stranger Than Paradise' because I had designed the poster for the exhibition. It's been my favorite movie ever since. I was in photography and design back then and the scenes from the film and the angle all seemed picture-perfect. There were many silent moments in the film too because the actors didn't speak that many lines but that gave me a lot of time to think. You have little time to think with movies these days because the stories move forward so quickly that by the time you're leaving the theater, you don't really know what happened. But with 'Stranger Than Paradise,' the director captures each moment for an adequate length of time through each scene, giving enough time for the audience to feel and think about each and every take."
A film in which not much is said, but is actually expressing much more than any other film. It is actually not important whether the three characters in the film reach the paradise they dream of. Jarmusch may have rather aimed at creating transformation within the viewers as they slowly follow their journey. The pic won the Special Jury Prize at the 1st Sundance Film Festival in 1985.
2. "The Ballad of Narayama"
1982 | Shohei Imamura
"I watched this film seven times at the theater and every person I watched it with tried to killed me afterwards. (laugh) They said it was really boring. But I thought a lot while watching it -- how it would feel to be stripped of everything, what human nature is, what it would be like if my life hit rock bottom, how I would feel if I was in his shoes, etc. That's why although I watched it all week long, I kept feeling the same emotions and kept crying. I think it was because of the fact that no matter how good of a son you are, if you reach a dead end, your instincts take over your sense of reasoning. It's a film which makes you think of human instincts all throughout."
3. "The Silence of the Lambs"
1991 | Jonathan Demme
"I felt that this film was very intricate. It wasn't just the script that was meticulous but also the foreshadowing, whether it be for the murders, the ending or the entire story, which constantly made me think. It made me think so much too that it felt as if the film was picking a fight with the audience. And I think Anthony Hopkins' unique appeal helped bring his character to life 200 percent. To the extent I kept seeing Dr. Lecter in his later works. Hopkins was perfect for the role -- it is as if he was born to do 'The Silence of the Lambs.' He's really a great actor because he managed to pull out odd emotions from within the audience."
There have been an infinite number of murderers in films but could any be possibly more brutal and graceful as Hannibal Lecter? Lecter does not simply kill people but perfects his acts of evil by devising the most effective way to inflict the largest pain upon his victims and eat their flesh. Sway a chain saw, threaten with a hook, wear a screaming mask, but one cannot come even close to Dr. Lecter who will cook human brain and eat it while sipping on wine with the greatest elegance.
1995 | David Fincher
"The film was extremely elaborate in showing crimes based on the deadly seven sins and what I liked more than anything was the picture. Its greyish-blue hue matched so well with the city and the film's characters. Films with good style usually lack in content but I think 'Seven' was perfect in every way. Of course, you can't leave out the acting either. I can guarantee you that every guy who watched this film became Brad Pitt's fan. He fully exhibited his appeal and talent through this film. He's very cool and I envy him too. (laugh) Morgan Freeman was great too. Could there possibly be another actor who gives off such a perfect and intellectual vibe as him?"
Retiring detective (played by Freeman) and new detective (played by Pitt), jointly take on an investigation into a series of murders associated to the deadly seven sins. The twist at the end of the film is already shocking enough but Fincher is intelligent enough not to commit the mistake of turning over the movie in its entirety. The film is overwhelming from its very start with the opening sequence showing a horrendous crime scene and its elaborate picture.
5. "Apocalypse Now"
1979 | Francis Ford Coppola
"'Apocalypse Now' is the movie of my life. I happened to see it by chance in middle school and it was when the Dolby Surround sound system first came out. It felt like a real helicopter was next to me in the theater when it appeared on screen. (laugh) I was so overwhelmed by the sound that I was in awe the whole time. And the characters who become assimilated with the one who becomes evil due to the war... I couldn't take my eyes away from them. I was an ignorant middle school student but I couldn't leave my seat for a while even after the movie ended."
Human beings hate hell but are not hesitant in creating one. War, mankind's worst invention, turns every path it has been on into hell and makes the highly motivated captain played by Martin Sheen go crazy. The environment in which the film was shot -- an actual jungle in the Philippines -- was harsh but it earned director Francis Ford Coppola the title of maestro by winning Cannes' Palme d'Or.
Reporter : Lee Ji-Hye email@example.com
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Jessica Kim email@example.com
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>