With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, March 12, 2012

ACF 1379: CYRANO AGENCY reviewed; free screening in NY tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13th

Korean Cultural Service
Korean Movie Night 
Series 2: It's A Fine Romance!
Cyrano Agency / Si-ra-no;Yeon-ae-jo-jak-do
Directed by KIM Hyeon-seok
South Korea, 2010, 117 minutes
When: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas (map here)
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!
All seating is first-come, first served

Named after the character with the big nose who writes love letters for another man, the Cyrano Agency consists of four would-be thespians, three men and one woman. They assist young men, who lack the social skills to do it themselves, to win the hearts of the women they want to be with. Using high tech surveillance equipment and a decked out reddish van, they learn all about the object of their client's desire and fashion the perfect script for their client's love life. The firm's motto: "We Make Your Love Real. Confidentially."

Min-yeong, left, and Byeong-hoon

Byeong-hoon (UHM Tai-woong) is the boss of the agency; Min-yeong (PARK Shin-hye), the lone female employee. Along with the two other male co-workers (who do not feature all that much in the film), they started the agency to make money in the hopes of setting up a real theater. In fact, their "office" is situated in an old theater building.

The film essentially consists of two sections. In the first, and shorter, section, a new client, KIM Hyun-gon, seeks their services so he can connect with a 24 year old woman who works at a coffee shop. The agency's research  reveals that she takes yoga class after work, studied fashion, and is into music. An actress is employed to go "undercover" as a worker at the coffee shop, feign interest in Hyun-gon and make Suh-ah jealous. Their meticulous work, crafty methods, and uncanny knowledge of what it takes to "hook" any particular woman serve their client well. Chalk up one more win for cupid's assistants!

Sang-yong and Hee-joong

The success rate of the agency seems about to falter in the second section of the film. Sang-yong (Daniel CHOI) is a handsome, successful fund manager. He pines for Hee-joong (LEE Min-jung), whom he has observed from afar at the church they both attend.

Something clearly is amiss from the get-go, as Byeong-hoon clearly doesn't want to take on Sang-yong as a client. First Byeong-hoon sets an outrageously high price for the agency's services. Then, instead of following a sensible path, he arranges for Sang-yong to insult the church's pastor, who just happens to be related to Hee-joong. Why does Byeong-hoon want to sabotage a lucrative assignment that the financially strapped agency desperately needs? Well, it seems that he and Hee-joong were an item in the past, and Byeong-hoon still has powerful feelings for her.

There is plenty of drama and comedy as this weird situation plays out, keeping the audience in suspense as to who, if anyone, will wind up with whom at film's end. Cyrano Agency is a delightful rom-com with a smart premise and four leads who are both talented and good-looking. ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended.

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