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Ko - production in Busan
  • In Focus: Tinker Ticker
  • by Pierce Conran /  Mar 28, 2014

  • Directed by KIM Jung-hoon
    Starring BYUEN Yo-han, PARK Jung-min
    Release Date April 3
    Being an outcast anywhere isn’t easy, but in Korea, where the pressure to fall in line is immense, being labeled a wangtta (loner) can be a pariah that affects one’s ability to lead their lives. In Tinker Ticker, one of the feature projects from the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Advanced Program, which has been responsible for recent debuts such as JO Seung-hee’s End of Animal (2010), YOON Sung-hyun’s Bleak Night (2010) and KIM Sung-hyun’s Your Time Is Up (2012), the protagonist vents his frustrations in high school in a misguided way and his actions follow him into adulthood, marginalizing him even further.
    Constantly berated by his teacher, Jung-gu sets off an explosive in high school, which books him a ticket to a juvenile detention center. 11 years later he is toiling away as a professor’s assistant in university while attending numerous fruitless interviews on the side. He still clandestinely fabricates homemade bombs, but rather than use them himself, he sends them to people he finds online, yet these devices languish in their boxes unused.
    One day, Jung-gu meets the delinquent Hyo-min, a student at his university with a chip on his shoulder who seems to have little respect for anyone or anything. Jung-gu secretly sends him a package and it isn’t long before an incident involving an explosive in a delivery truck winds up on the news. Before long Hyo-min discovers who is sending him these packages and the two begin to form a tenuous bond. But Hyo-min’s unpredictable behavior becomes dangerous and Jung-gu finds himself caught in a situation that he can no longer handle.
    With its unique premise and typically strong production values, Tinker Ticker is another impressive debut from a KAFA graduate student. KIM Jung-hoon’s film explores the anxiety of young adults in Korea, in their post-high school malaise, from a fresh perspective with a clever conceit and tight plotting. The film also benefits from its strong central pairing with BYUEN Yo-han as the reticent Jung-gu and PARK Jung-min delivering a charismatic turn as the impulsive Hyo-min. PARK previously appeared as one of the central high school students in Bleak Night.
    What makes Tinker Ticker tick is the combination of its familiar realist aesthetic, comprising unaffected performances and gray hues, with well-integrated genre elements that serve only to add to the film’s social aims. The film will go on release in Korea in April at the same time as two other features from KAFA’s 6th Advanced Class: Guardian, which premiered at last year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and The Legacy, which will screen for the first time.
    By Pierce Conran
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