In Focus: Dear Dolphin
Directed by KANG Jin-a
Featuring RIE Young-zin, HAN Ye-ri, LEE Hui-joon
Release Date May 16
One of the ten new Korean films in competition this year at the 14th Jeonju International Film Festival, Dear Dolphin, the feature debut of acclaimed short filmmaker KANG Jin-a, is a beautiful exploration of loss and loneliness.
A young man loses his wife to an unfortunate accident one day and slips into despair. On the one-year anniversary of her death, her friend, who is also still rocked by grief, meets him and they visit her grave. Seeking comfort from their pain, they begin to spend time together but now the man, wracked with guilt, is beginning to have daily visions of his deceased partner.
Director KANG, who was born in 1981, is already a respected short filmmaker, having won the grand prize in the “A Short Film About Love” section during 2009’s Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival with Be With Me. The common themes that run through her work are life and death and her other films include Quadruplets and Paprika Fest. She was also involved in a number of other films in various capacities such as The Coast Guard, Volcano High and Handphone.
KANG has assembled an experienced cast with years of experience as secondary characters in the commercial film industry. Finally given their chance to shine in meatier roles, RIE Young-zin (Antique, Yoga), HAN Ye-ri (As One, South Bound) and LEE Hui-joon (The Unjust, Helpless) all deliver strong performances. KANG has also brought together a top team of behind the scenes professionals to bring her debut to life. The film’s crew includes KIM Jong-seon, who was involved in the cinematography departments of My Sassy Girl and Public Enemy before graduating to director of photography on films such as The Journals of Musan. Similarly, KIM Seung-gyeong was in the art departments for Troubleshooter and Masquerade before becoming an art director on the recent Norigae.
For her feature debut, KANG has expanded on her favored themes of life and death with a heartfelt narrative vividly brought to fruition with a keen visual sensibility and the inclusion of well-placed and subtle special effects and other techniques. KANG’s impressive film is in with a chance to pick up the top prize in the Korean competition at Jeonju, the winners of which will be announced later this week. Dear Dolphin will be released in Korean theaters on May 16th.
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