Marriage Is a Crazy Thing (Gyeolhoneun michinjishida) (2002)
Directed by Ha Yu
Starring Kam Woo-seong, Eom Jeong-hwa
With a title like Marriage Is a Crazy Thing, I was expecting a lightweight romantic comedy, nothing more, nothing less. Im glad to say it went way beyond my expectations.
Despite the westernization of much of South Korean society, coffee bars, KFC etc, there is still a very strong, traditional mindset in terms of marriage and relationships, particularly amongst the professional / middle classes. As with other far east countries, age old customs still prevail, people are expected to be married by a certain age and match-makers are still employed within certain cultures to help find suitable partners. You have to ask yourself, whats love got to do with it?
Social mores and current sexual politics are questioned within the relationship of a 30+ university teacher who is feeling the pressure from his family to tie the knot, though it's something he doesn't want, and a woman approaching 30 who feels the need to settle down, preferably in a loving relationship.
After meeting and going through the routine of a first date, polite conversation, drinks etc, they end up in a cheap motel for the night, sparks begin to fly as they connect physically.
They meet on and off during the following weeks/ months, for both of them, sex appears to be the primary reason, because although there is a deep affection, neither can change their position, he feels the need to retain his freedom while she is still looking for Mr. Right.
In its own way, the affair goes through the stages of a relationship until the pressure for each of them becomes a little to much. Sexually, they are a perfect match but with each wanting more in different ways, you can only wonder, where the relationship is heading.
Apart from an interesting look at the clash between customs and needs, what makes this drama stand out is the electricity between the leads, the sex scenes are not explicit, certainly not by current Western standards but there is an intensity between the pair, and not just between the sheets that literally makes the screen sizzle.
Bravura performances, excellent casting and a good tight script all help to raise this film far above the norm making it one that is well worth seeking out.
No BBFC rating but Id say suitable for 15+.
The region 3 dvd I have is rated Category III and contains some basic extras including a basic look at the story, an intro to the director and the leading cast.