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'Indian Summer': destined love between condemned female criminal and lawyer

'Indian Summer': destined love between condemned female criminal and lawyer

Posted April. 27, 2001 17:49,   


``Indian Summer`` can be compared with the recently screened ``Gift`` in many aspects. While the actual situations are different, the two movies portray the sad love of couples who face a barrier they cannot overcome.

``Gift`` is a sort of movie where ``feeling`` can hardly be ignored, though it is loose ``mentally.`` On the other hand, ``Indian Summer`` may be tolerated in a way, but there is little earnest feeling.

A law firm attorney, Soh Jun-Ha (played by Park Shin-Yang) is quite a character who volunteers to work as a court-appointed lawyer and wears sports shoes in formal dress. He is appointed as defense lawyer in the appeal trial of Lee Shin-Young (Lee Mi-Yeon), who has been sentenced to death for murdering her husband. Devoting himself to the case, he begins to be attracted by his client. This movie has two main plots – the legal battle over whether Shin-Young really killed her husband and their sad love story. However, it seems the movie fails to find its own way between the two. The editing is good enough to illustrate simply the legal battle that could have become boring, but the love story is too straight and flat for the viewers` empathy. As a result of particularly frequent close-ups, the viewers can understand by the look of Jun-Ha that he feels love for Shin-Young, but it is ambiguous when their love, for which they think they can give up everything, actually started. The sad dialogue between the man and the woman in a beautiful and romantic setting is only heard as a concept squeezed out by the brain and is unable to touch the mind of the viewers.

The scene of weeping of actor Park Shin-Yang, who appeared in this melodrama after a long absence, in front of Shin-Young`s locked door proves that there are few actors who can cry with so much sadness in this type of movie. But the scene lacked the passion that should be a prerequisite, and it ends up as a shadow of the melodramatic performances he showed in ``Letter`` and ``Promise.``

What attracts interest more than the emotional atmosphere is the perfect despair of Shin-Young. Lee Mi-Yeon`s look and way of talking, as if she had given up everything, are chilly enough to cool down immediately the comic atmosphere in the early part of the movie.

Like the title of the movie, Indian Summer, meaning unexpected and short summer days between autumn and winter, Jun-ha chooses the way to the winter with the love that suddenly comes to him rather than striving to continue it.

The last scene, with a certain smile on the face of Shin-Young as she sheds tears while looking at Jun-Ha through a closing door, makes the viewers feel bitter for the first time in the movie. This is a debut film for director Noh Hyo-Jung and will be screened from May 5. It is restricted to 15-years-old or older.

Kim Hee-Kyeong susanna@donga.com