masterly master lee

a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

Bungee Jumping of their Own 번지점프를 하다 2001 review

‘Bungee Jumping of their Own’ is a most unusual story about true love, and one that has haunted Master Lee for quite some time. The movie introduces us to a student, Inu, played by heartthrob Lee Byung-hun, who falls madly in love with a beautiful girl, Taehŭi (played by Lee Eun-ju), who studies art at the same university. By way of small yet significant encounters, we learn that Taehŭi has been just as much in love with Inu since her first encounter with him, but when their love is about to reach a climax, the story fastforwards and we find ourselves in a classroom where an older Inu is the new teacher. Inu is passionate about his work, and in the scenes that follow we find him quickly earning the respect of the group of young male students he mentors. One student, however, bursts the comfort bubble. We learn that Inu, despite appearances, has been living a nightmare, having lost Taehŭi, the love of his life, in an accident. But just like she had somewhat jokingly promised she would, it appears she has now come back to him, albeit in the form of a boy from his mentor class. So now what?

Kim Dae-Seung’s directorial debut requires some imagination, but the ways in which it addresses love and homosexuality is very interesting. The main reason to watch this film, however, is not so much the second part, but the first part of the movie, which is wonderfully romantic yet extremely subtle, and in some ways reminded Master Lee of the quiet suffering of ‘Christmas in August’, while the issue of the reincarnation of a loved one in an impossible form reminded him of Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Birth’ (2004), which this movie predates. Although the scenario has some flaws, the acting is great and so is the chemistry between Inu and Taehŭi. It still hurts that Lee Eun-ju chose to leave this world on 22 February 2005. It would have been a much more beautiful place with her. Let’s hope there really is such a thing as reincarnation.

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