Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • KIM Sae-ron of A GIRL AT MY DOOR
  • by SONG Soon-jin / 06.27.2014
  • The girl who stands by herself
    It is always a pleasure to watch young talents grow as they find a way to express their art above limits. Among the few who stand out in such manner, there is KIM Sae-ron who is not only favored by the audience but also the film industry as well. Since she emerged out of nowhere in Ounie LECOMTE’s A Brand New Life when she was only ten years old, she has stamped her name in Korean cinema with 7 features to her credit during a course of six years. This year has definitely been prolific for her: she played the re-enacted childhood role of KIM Keum-hwa, a true shaman who survived the tumultuous times of Korea’s modern history in PARK Chan-kyong’s documentary MANSHIN: Ten Thousand Spirits, the country girl Do-hee who discovers hope amongst the burden of chronic violence in A Girl at My Door which was invited to this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard section, and the upcoming teenage TV drama High School Love-On(W/T).
    “Despite my young age, I think people see me as an actress and not as a child actor. It seems that these days, the definition of child actor has become equivalent with playing the childhood role of a certain adult character. And this is why I like being called an actress as it means people are seeing me in a different way.” The reason why people look forward to KIM Sae-ron’s future is because she is an actress who presents a character of her own while most child actors remain as someone who played the main character’s childhood self, or someone’s son or daughter. It isn’t so easy to find significant child or teenage characters in Korean films. Nonetheless, KIM Sae-ron stepped beyond these constraints from the moment she began her career in film. A Brand New Life which depicts a young girl’s distress and confusion after her father leaves her at an orphanage was invited to Cannes in 2009 where KIM Sae-ron’s youthful face was immediately imprinted in the minds of many film professionals. Her subsequent work The Man From Nowhere, a box office hit by filmmaker LEE Jeong-beom which earned a whopping 6 million in domestic ticket sales gave her a strong public appeal. The poor little girl So-mi may have originally existed just to support the spectacular series of action from the film’s hero Tae-sik (WON Bin), but the performance that KIM Sae-ron gave was solid enough to give substantial reason to the violent and excessive revenge actor WON Bin played.

    With two thrillers I Am Father and The Neighbors following the success of The Man From Nowhere, KIM Sae-ron once again stepped into the international scene at Italy’s Giffoni Film Festival by winning the best film award for Barbie directed by LEE Sang-woo. Playing a young girl cast into a cruel world, but still manages to hold onto her innocent sensibility while being mature seems to have become a role KIM Sae-ron has mastered. “I played many parts that deal with situations of adversity. Yet I never had difficulty accepting them. Although I may feel distant from such roles, I know that I have to become each character in order to present it to others. Each time I do go through serious contemplation, but once I feel the energy of the film set and dialogue exchanges between other actors, I slowly immerse myself into my role.”
    KIM Sae-ron’s manager states, “She has a great eye for good scripts which made it possible for her to choose her own projects at a very young age.” On why she chose to play a role in MANSHIN: Ten Thousand Spirits, she explained, “For a project to be both documentary and drama seemed quite unique to me. My role in this case wasn’t important. I decided to work on the film after understanding the entire context.” In the case of A Girl at My Door, it was not the producer’s name being LEE Chang-dong, but because she “liked the script and was attracted to Do-hee as a character” that she chose to work on the film. “There are no set conditions for me. I like a project where I can empathize and feel when I read it. And it is the general context I see rather than just my role.”
    KIM Sae-ron who reconfirmed she is on a rising streak with films such as MANSHIN: Ten Thousand Spirits and A Girl at My Door will return as a cute and lively heroine in a fantasy TV drama, to face a new challenge. “I played quite a number of lively positive roles, but I guess people tend to forget this due to the great impact of The Man From Nowhere. That’s why I chose a charming teenage drama this time”. KIM Sae-ron may have been quite earnest throughout her interview, but there was a piercing glimmer in her eyes which makes it hard to fathom the depth of her future.

    By SONG Soon-jin
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