Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Does It Matter How Old I Am?
  • by HA Jung-min / 06.27.2016
  • Three Child Actresses Hitting Hard 2016 Korean Cinema

    So far, child actors were more like supplementary to adult actors, with their unrefined acting and cute charm. However, recently, they have become proper actors in their own right, except that they are younger.
    KIM Hwan-hee in THE WAILING manifested a great presence, as competitive as that of HWANG Jung-min or KWAK Do-won, and JO Eun-hyung in The Handmaiden left a powerful impression that is no less than that of KIM Tae-ri, the rising actress who earned her role through a 1500:1 competition. The World of Us is already a fun film just watching CHOI Soo-in, who has perfectly absorbed her character.
    These girls have great acting skills and are not mere “child actresses” any more, they are just actresses, in a smaller body frame and younger age.
    Definite Heroine of the Year, KIM Hwan-hee

    If you are to pick the actress of the year 2016, it is definitely her. There is still the second half of the year, and she is only 14 years old, but those who have seen THE WAILING would surely put KIM Hwan-hee on the top of the list.
    Hyo-jin, daughter of Jong-gu, a police officer (KWAK Do-won), is the actual center of the narrative. Every event begins and ends with her. Jong-gu was hesitant to commit himself to the mysterious events in the village, and finally steps in when Hyo-jin gets involved. He searches the mountains and invites in a shaman. His daughter is the veritable engine of this terrible chase.
    Of course it is a significant role, but if it were not for this 14-year-old actress KIM, who has been acting for 8 years now, this character would not have been so vivid and powerful. KIM manifests the whole spectrum of her acting ability in this film. When she scolds, her father, she is just an ordinary village girl and when she acts a puppet of the evil spirit, she is so much more than a mere child actress.
    Her acting was often praised as prodigious, but she is not a rookie who suddenly came into the scene. KIM made her acting debut in a TV drama when she was 6, and her screen debut was in Night Fishing in 2010. THE WAILING is her third film. And here, she has exploded all her acting ability that she has been training so far.
    Her line “What is important, then? Tell me, what is important!” has become very catchy, and it is not just because of the great scenario. That is also because she was a real actress, with deep understanding of her character and wonderful acting skills. 
    Another Lady in The Handmaiden, JO Eun-hyung

    In The Handmaiden, along with great actresses including KIM Min-hee, KIM Tae-ri, MOON So-ri and KIM Hae-sook, there is one more outstanding actress. That is JO Eun-hyung, who played young Hideko, heroine of the film.
    Her scenes are not many but she clearly characterizes many different features of young Hideko. In her deep eyes, you see her fear of the uncle (CHO Jin-woong), and child-like innocence at the same time. It is hard to tell the limit of her acting potential, when she shows a sudden change in the absence of her uncle, who is her frightening oppressor. In addition, her natural Japanese acting seems so effortless that one is confused with her nationality.
    It is only natural that this child actress won the love of PARK Chan-wook and the audience, with her mysterious charm and powerful acting. PARK confessed that he had changed his original plan to recruit 3 different child actresses to act different age stages of young Hideko, once he met JO.
    In PARK’s word: “JO is a great actress. In the original scenario, young Hideko was represented in three different ages, that are, 5, 8, and 10 year-olds, but once I met JO during the audition, I was certain she was capable of acting all these three ages.” The Handmaiden is the screen debut of this 11-year-old, charming actress.
    Truthful Acting, CHOI Soo-in

    Depicting the pain of growing up for an 11-year-old girl, The World of Us is the kind of film that is not easy to forget even after leaving the theater. That is because the fear and pain of growing up that anyone must have experienced remind the audience of their past, and also because the main character, Sun, who is played by this wonderful actress CHOI Soo-in.
    The film begins with a scene where a group of kids are playing rock paper scissors in the PE class at school, and the camera frames Sun’s face, who is waiting for her turn. This 12-year-old actress acts her emotions ranging from excitement, nervousness, frustration, fear to disappointment, just by her facial expressions.
    CHOI’s acting is so natural that the film looks almost like a documentary, as opposed to a feature drama. It partly owes to the special directing skills of YOON Ga-eun, the director, where YOON just sets the overall situation to pull out natural acting rather than sticking to the scenario. However, the seamless change in emotions in this short scene is solely conveyed by the actress. CHOI has this acting instinct to express these ever so complicated emotions in a very honest and succinct manner.
    Acting the inner self as greatly as an adult actress can, CHOI has won the Best Child Actor prize at the 56th edition of Zlin International Film Festival for Children and Youth with this feature film debut of hers. She also has been nominated for the Best Actress award along with great adult actresses at Shanghai International Film Festival.
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