With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

GUARDIAN reviewed; free screening tomorrow night in New York City

Korean Cultural Service NY
Asia Society NY
Korean Movie Night New York
Series One: Fathers on Screen
 Guardian / Bo-ho-ja
Written and directed by YOO Won-sang
Starring: KIM Su-hyeon, KO Seo-hee
South Korea, 2013, 90 minutes, DCP
In Korean with English subtitles
When: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Where: Asia Society’s Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium
725 Park Avenue, between 70th & 71st Streets, NYC
Free admission. First-come, first-served.
International Premiere

Guardian is an intriguing thriller and marks the feature film debut of YOO Won-sang, who both wrote and directed the film. Tomorrow night's screening at Asia Society NY will mark its International Premiere.

LEE Jeon-mo (KIM Su-hyeon) is a retired firefighter who runs the Vitamin Flower Shop with his wife. They have two children. Their daughter Hee-jung is on the cusp of puberty and already concerned about pimples. Their younger child, Jung-sik, is a boy who loves playing video games, an activity in which his father sometimes joins. All in all they are a contented, happy family.

That is, until one evening when Hee-jung is kidnapped. The LEE family's world is turned upside down as the kidnapper calls Jeon-mo and tells him that he should think on a past sin, as the kidnapping is punishment for something LEE did wrong. The abductor demands a rather low ransom, but keeps Jeon-mo moving from one rendezvous point to another, then makes an outrageous demand for the safe return of Hee-jung.

Father, mother, and son each become increasingly unraveled and distraught as the situation becomes more and more bizarre and Hee-jung remains a captive. The denouement is a surprising reveal, although one eventually realizes that YOO has provided some hints along the way.

Guardian was YOO's graduation project at the Korean Academy of Film Arts, and it's a most auspicious beginning for what promises to be a rich career. It's well-paced overall and nicely structured, with good performances by the cast of four adults and three children.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended.

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