Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • LEESONG Hee-il, Director of NIGHT FLIGHT
  • by SONG Soon-jin / 01.28.2014
  • “This is a Film about Loneliness”

    - This is your first queer melodrama in 8 years since No Regret (2006).  How did this project all begin?

    The scenario was pretty much done long ago. What I originally had in mind was a TV show with 8 episodes, so I wrote a prequel scenario in a film format. However, things happened and I had to hold onto it for the time being. While I was waiting, I came across some unfortunate news happening in Korean society. One that hurt and impacted me the most was teenagers committing suicide. Korean teenagers are suffering from various pressures from society, especially the sexual minorities. I thought there would be a central source where these issues stem from, which made me go for a movie focusing on teenagers. I adjusted the scenario to deal specifically with school violence. 
    - Night Flight ultimately talks about the sexual minority teenagers within a classroom drama format.

    I have long been interested in the conflicts the sexual minority teenagers face, so I even established an educational forum for them. Sexual minority teenagers are facing more difficulties than other age groups because they are not financially independent. They are at the bottom of the repressive hierarchy in society and I always wanted to tell a story from their perspective. However, it is not a film solely dealing with this specific group of teenagers. Most characters including Ki-woong are not sexual minorities. 
    - You once confessed the difficulty of casting for queer films. How did it go this time?
    It is still very hard. I joked with KIM Il-kwon, our producer at Cinema DAL, that we should not do a queer film again. Many actors refused right away even when the scenes were not extremely sexual, which made me think that we still have a long way to go as a society. The two actors playing main characters in this film are complete rookies, so the shooting was very hard. They were complete beginners who didn’t even understand the line of movement in front of the camera. LEE Jae-joon playing the character of Ki-woong is a model, and KWAK Si-yang playing the role of Yong-ju had just been discharged from military service. 
    - Tell us about the film. What does Night Flight signify?
    It is a film of loneliness. School is a microcosm of society, and the reason why school violence takes place and such monstrous characters exist is because of loneliness. Where there is a lack of understanding, it is no surprise that perspective becomes skewed and violence pervades. Most of all, I hope the audience may take Night Flight as a healing experience. 
    - Since No Regret, which made a big fandom, many queer films have been made in Korea. Do you actually see any changes in the market and audiences?

    No Regret was warmly received and created a fandom because it was the first comer. However, quite a number of queer films have been made since, and quite a few foreign films have been released, too. Moreover, homosexual elements are now commonly introduced even in commercial films and TV shows, and famous actors are casted for those roles. Therefore, the ground for the popularity of independent queer cinema has become less favorable in a way. The way and venue that queer cinema is consumed have changed. Independent queer films may attract less attention in the future. I guess they will be consumed within sexual minorities who now have much easier access to theaters than before.
    By SONG Soon-jin
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