Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Director of WHITE NIGHT LEESONG Hee-il
  • by HUH Nam-woong / 02.04.2013
  • Next Step is Commercial Film
    - Last year, you made the feature film White Night and two short films, Suddenly, Last Summer and Going South. This queer trilogy is made up entirely of melodramas. It grasps people’s attention as you used homosexuality as an element of the melodrama genre.

    I like genre movies. I strategically compromised a lot. As I shoot films without continuity, I decide the number of cuts according to the time spent at shooting sites. So sometimes, I want to finish a scene with one cut. But If I insist on it for my personal satisfaction, audiences may feel bored. So it is the hardest thing to make a compromise.  
    - What is the meaning of making a compromise?

    Making a compromise means that I have to divide cuts into smaller cuts. Several days ago, I had a chance to drink with a commercial movie producer after watching one of my movies. “Hee-il, lets’ divide the cuts into smaller cuts,” the producer told me. I already made a compromise. Then I have to make more compromises. I hate that. Finally, I fight over things not directly related to movies at shooting sites.
    - You experimentally premiered one feature film (White Night) and two short films (Suddenly, Last Summer and Going South) as a single package while releasing the queer trilogy. 
    This is a new form of premiering films. One of the reasons for a small number of audiences is that people are reading this package as an omnibus film. Korean audiences do not like omnibus movies. People think that the queer trilogy is rather short, so they do not think the trilogy is a feature film. But I do not stick to it. I completed the trilogy as I directed two more films during winter after finishing Suddenly, Last Summer. One of the two is White Night. I happened to make White Night as a feature film while working on it. So I could release the films as a trilogy.  
    - A common theme of the trilogy is a love triangle.The trilogy deals with frictions inside a gay community coupled with fights against discriminations against homosexuals. So I have no choice but to ask about love triangles in the films. 
    When we shoot melodramas, love triangles are common. Engels said that love is going over a wall with a mental disorder. I think that such vulgar and romantic emotions are still good. But I do not pay attention to relationships between ordinary men and women. Instead, I like vulgar and romantic melodramas to some extent. These are feelings which border on our lives. If I add a small quantity of romantic elements to the feelings and the feelings become powerful, I use them as themes.  
    - In this context, one major theme is love between people of difference classes. There’s the love between a flight attendant and a quick delivery man in White Night, the love between a teacher and a student in Suddenly, Last Summer and a man discharged from the military and a man on military leave in Going South.
    In fact, I did not intend to express their classes through their jobs. I chose their jobs as they have their own unique sentiments and feelings in White Night. I made Going South like a declaration prior to the production of Fly by Night. White Night and Suddenly, Last Summer are about gays while Going South stars heterosexuals but makes issues out of heterosexual love.
    - How about physical love? Your films are about the process to reach physical love. Physical love is a symbolic act in your movies as they are queer films.
    Queer melodramas are basically the fights of bodies. Gay cultures shows naked bodies like a queer parade to stress their rights to their bodies. So they expose their bodies in terms of protests. Personally I try not to show nudity much in my films. I think that the era of protesting through exhibitionism has come to an end. I will direct commercial films, too. The problem is whether or not I will direct Fly by Night. If so, I will shoot a commercial film right after completing Fly by Night. I am considering several items. 
    - Tell us more about Fly by Night.
    Fly by Night is a movie about high school students. Its story is very popular. It may make you cry. To me, the movie makes me feel indebted. I opened a school concerned about the human rights of teenage homosexuals in 1998. I ran the school for ten years and passed it over to one of my friends. During the process, students suffered hard times. The school is now closed. In those days, I felt indebted to the students. Now I would like to direct this film once I finished revising its scenario.

    photographed by HUH Nam-jun
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