Chasing Ironies

I Love You And Sarang Hae

Posted on: September 5, 2008

I always had a liking for lovey-dovey movies. Forgive me for being a hopeless romantic, but I love cheesy chic flicks. I was one of those girls who cried over movies like Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Notebook. I used to idolize Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and all those Hollywood actresses who made women weep with their cheesy “I love you” lines and scenes that were just too mushy to happen in real life.

I’ve stopped obsessing over those movies a long time ago. Nowadays I prefer watching (and crying over hehehe) South Korean movies. There’s something about these films I find very appealing. Not only do they open me to an Asian culture that has always fascinated me, it’s also how they’re written and how they interpret love in exceptional and uncommon ways—very different from Hollywood flicks.

So I switched. From I love you to sarang hae.

It started when I was a college sophomore. Back then, my exposure to South Korean movies was only confined to horror or suspense films like The Grudge, The Eye and The Ring (Japanese, but I can’t NOT mention it here). Along with mainstream local and Hollywood films, these Asian flicks were shown at local theaters.

Then, my two best girl friends introduced me to My Sassy Girl (which was Hollywood-adapted very recently. Bleh.). It’s funny, crazy and not overly romantic. I fell in love with it and eventually shared it with my sisters who also found it equally enjoyable.

A few weeks later, my sisters and I enthusiastically raved about the movie to our tito. We knew about his fascination with Japanese and Korean culture, including movies and music, so we figured he’d like Sassy Girl as much as we do. He found our “reviews” amusing, and promised to get a copy as soon as he can.

He liked it. And it sparked HIS obsession for Korean movies. Eventually, he was the one sharing Korean movie information to us. He kept buying DVDs, that soon, 2/3 of his vast DVD collection is comprised of Korean movies. Tito also got Korean and Japanese TV series and even anime films.

The wonderful thing is he shared all those movies with us. Soon, we not only got to watch romantic flicks like Il Mare (Hollywood-adapted as The Lake House),

The Unforgettable Il Mare

Lover’s Concerto, and Innocent Steps, but also funny love stories like Windstruck, My Crazy First Love, Too Beautiful To Lie and 100 Days With Mister Arrogant.

There were action movies like Daisy and even creepy suspense like The Uninvited and A Tale Of Two Sisters. Some were teen-oriented like Jenny and Juno and My Little Bride. Others were mature like April Snow. Some were a bit boring, but many of them I found unforgettable.

Daisy, a romance with an assassin twist.

A Tale Of Two Sisters

Jenny, Juno: TOO Cute, But Endearing

One movie I found very endearing is A Moment To Remember. It stars Son Ye-jin and Jun Woo-sung , as a perfectly happy couple, who became torn by a rare Alzheimer’s Disease condition. Sounds like The Notebook, but more tragic, and, in my opinion, more filled with love. The first Korean romance I cried over. Hahahaha.

Another is The Classic. Two different love stories, at two different times, and with two different conclusions. A story about how endearing first love can be. This film has it all—romance, comedy and even a bit of action. It’s got the right amount of cheesiness. Even guys won’t feel embarrassed watching it.

This raining scene always gets to me. hahaha.

Then, there are movies that were not at all romantically oriented, but still earned five stars for me. One is Tae Gyuk Gi. It’s a story of two brothers, caught in the middle of the Korean War. The movie narrated how the torments of war changed both of them, but it showed that in the end, family and the bond between brothers always prevail. I’ve always perceived this as a Korean version of Saving Private Ryan, but more heartbreaking and tear-jerking.

I still watch Korean movies as much as I can. When I’ve got spare time at work, I browse youtube and crunchyroll and on weekends I borrow from my tito’s collection. I know I’m addicted, but in a good way. And hopefully, I get to watch and enjoy more “sarang haes” soon. Hehehe.

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