About Being Young and Old, To Have and Have Not
Director WHANG Cheol-mean | Cast LEE Bong-gyu, CHO Rae-hyung, HAN Eun-bi | Genre Thriller, Drama | Running Time 107 minutes | Rating 19+ | Release Date August 8
Ji-hun, a 20-something good-for-nothing, overhears a conversation between his father and a lawyer concerning his cancer-stricken grandfather. The bed-ridden relative has an estate worth KRW 3 billion (around USD 3 million) but as his father has severed relations with the old man, Ji-hun is unlikely to ever see a dime of it. Prompted by greed and a sense of rebellion against his father, Ji-hun packs up and leaves for the countryside in a bid to curry his grandfather’s favor.
Four years pass and instead of deteriorating, the old man’s health seems to be improving, as he appears more vigorous now than ever. This whole time Ji-hun has been enduring back-breaking farm work and one day, fed up, he abruptly goes back to Seoul to spend a debauched night with his rich, freeloader friends.
He wakes up in a motel next to a girl he met the night before. He remembers suggesting that she sleep with his grandfather to induce ‘death by coitus’, for which she would receive a cut of the inheritance. Embarrassed, he leaves a note asking her to forget everything and quietly slinks away. However, a few days later, she turns up at their doorstep.
Though still not a very well known name outside of Korea, WHANG Cheol-mean has quietly been directing films since 2000. His latest work Oldmen Never Die, world premiered in the World Fantastic Cinema section of the Puchon International Film Festival (PiFan) this past July, is his ninth full-length feature. The film was honored at PiFan with the NH Nonghyup Award for Best Korean Film.
By Pierce Conran