A Werewolf Boy

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A Werewolf Boy
A Werewolf Boy (film).jpg
Hangul
Hanja 늑대
Revised Romanization Neukdae Sonyeon
McCune–Reischauer Nŭkdae Sonyŏn
Directed by Jo Sung-hee
Produced by Kim Su-jin
Yu in-beom
Jeong Tae-seong
Written by Jo Sung-hee
Starring Song Joong-ki
Park Bo-young
Music by Shim Hyun-jung
Cinematography Choi Sang-muk
Edited by Nam Na-yeong
Production
  company
Bidangil Pictures
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • September 11, 2012 (2012-09-11) (TIFF)
  • October 31, 2012 (2012-10-31) (South Korea)
Running time 122 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean

A Werewolf Boy (Hangul: 늑대소년; RR: Neukdae Sonyeon; lit. "Wolf Boy") is a 2012 South Korean fantasy romance film in which a beautiful teenage girl (Park Bo-young) is sent to a country house for her health, where she befriends and attempts to civilize a feral boy (Song Joong-ki) she discovers on the grounds — but the beast inside him is constantly waiting to burst out.[1][2][3]

Director Jo Sung-hee first wrote the script while studying at the Korean Academy of Film Arts and the script went through several rewrites before it was finalized in its current form. This is Jo's commercial debut; he previously directed the arthouse flick End of Animal and the short film Don't Step Out of the House.[4][5]

A Werewolf Boy had its world premiere in the "Contemporary World Cinema" section of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival,[6][7][8][9] then screened at the Busan International Film Festival before its theatrical release on October 31, 2012.[10][11] It quickly rose up the box office charts to become the most successful Korean melodrama of all time.[12]

Plot[edit]

Kim Sun-yi, an elderly woman in her sixties living in the US, receives a phone call about the sale of her old family home back in South Korea. Returning to her homeland, she's met by granddaughter Eun-joo, and they drive to the house in the country and stay the night. Sun-yi recalls how 47 years ago when she was a teenage girl in 1965, she moved from Seoul along with her widowed mother and sister Sun-ja to a remote valley to undergo a period of convalescence after suffering problems with her lungs. The Kims lived in genteel poverty at the mercy of their arrogant and foppish landlord, Ji-tae, son of the business partner of Sun-yi's late father. Because of her delicate health, the beautiful yet introverted Sun-yi lives an isolated life in the country home, without any friends her age.

One night, Sun-yi glimpses a shadow in the outhouse; the next day, she discovers a feral boy of about 19 crouching in their yard. The boy's body temperature is 46 degrees Celsius, his blood type unidentifiable, and he can neither read nor speak. Even though he behaves like a wild beast, Sun-yi's kindhearted mother adopts him and names him Chul-soo, assuming he's one of more than 60,000 children orphaned in the Korean War.

At first Sun-yi considers him a nuisance, but eventually has fun taming him according to a dog-training manual. She teaches him how to wait patiently before a meal, how to wear clothes, how to speak, how to write and other human behavior so that he could one day live like a normal man. Chul-soo demonstrates unswerving loyalty and superhuman brawn, thus inspiring the envy of Ji-tae, who lusts after Sun-yi.

As Sun-yi attempts to "civilize" the beast, the two eventually become very close. Sun-yi opens her heart to Chul-soo, and he in turn falls in love with her, the only person to ever show him affection. But their relationship is fraught with difficulties, as Ji-tae begins to cause trouble. Feeling threatened, Chul-soo lets loose his bestial instincts, and in their fear the town villagers turn on him. In order to save the life of the boy who risked his to be by her side, Sun-yi leaves him with a promise: "Wait for me. I’ll come back for you".[13][14][15][16]

Returning to present day, Sun-yi decides to stay the night. In the middle of the night she walks into the shed to find Chul-soo sitting there, still as young as he was 47 years ago. He hands her the note that she wrote. She realizes that he's been there waiting all along. He reads her the book that she asked him to when he can speak, as she sleeps. The next day she wakes up with Chul-soo nowhere in sight. She leaves with her granddaughter. In the car they receive a call from the county asking about the property. Sun-yi tells him that she's not selling the place and hangs up. Chul-soo stares from afar as the car drives away.

Cast[edit]

  • Lee Young-lan - Kim Sun-yi
  • Kim Hyang-gi - Sun-ja
  • Yoo Sung-mok - Professor Kang Tae-shik
  • Seo Dong-soo - army colonel
  • Woo Jeong-guk - Mr. Jung
  • Gu Bon-im - Mrs. Jung
  • Nam Jung-hee - Dong-seok's grandmother
  • Ahn Do-gyu - Dong-seok
  • Shin Bi - Dong-mi
  • Lee Jun-hyeok - policeman
  • Oh Yeong-seok - policeman
  • Lee Sung-ju - Sun-yi's son
  • Jang Seo-yi - Sun-yi's daughter-in-law
  • Jo Jae-yun - Sun-yi's grandson

Music[edit]

The film's music video featured John Park's single "철부지" ("Childlike").[29]

"My Prince," the song that Sun-yi sings in the film, was released as a digital single and included in the soundtrack. It was composed by music director Shim Hyun-jung with lyrics by director Jo Sung-hee.[30]

Soundtrack[edit]

  1. 나의 왕자님 ("My prince") - Park Bo-young
  2. Time she's forgotten
  3. 47 years ago
  4. A boy in the house
  5. Decision to train him
  6. Sun-yi's family
  7. Chul-soo in the bath
  8. First love
  9. Training
  10. Let's go to play
  11. Cosplay
  12. Where there's love
  13. Special power
  14. Turning to wolf
  15. Discover the secret
  16. She collapses
  17. Ji-tae's anger
  18. Chul-soo in chains
  19. Evil plan
  20. Searching for guitar
  21. Out of control
  22. To the forest
  23. Love unreached
  24. Don't leave me
  25. Walking away
  26. For a long time
  27. A werewolf boy

Reception[edit]

After premiering at number one in the South Korean box office with more than 100,000 admissions,[31][32] A Werewolf Boy broke the 1 million mark after five days,[33][34][35] 2 million after nine days,[36] and 3.6 million in twelve days.[37][38][39][40] Not only were these numbers remarkably high for November, considered a slow season for moviegoing in Korea, but it was also a rare feat for its melodrama genre.[41]

The film also has the distinction of setting a new box office record for "suneung day," the date on which high school seniors take their College Scholastic Ability Test. Each year large numbers of students book tickets for films in the evening after the exam has finished, but A Werewolf Boy's one-day score of 341,475 tickets on November 8 outpaced the totals of any film in previous years.[42][43]

On November 15, its 4.12 million admissions surpassed Architecture 101 to become the most successful Korean melodrama of all time.[12][44] Ticket sales reached 5 million on November 18,[45][46] 6 million on November 26,[47][48][49] then 7 million on December 16,[50][51] making it the third highest Korean top grosser of 2012, behind The Thieves and Masquerade, and also the fourth best selling film of the year overall.[52]

The film also became a sleeper hit when it was released in Taiwan on December 28, 2012, grossing NT$4 million (US$138,000) at the Taipei box office after 17 days on release.[53]

The film also made its premiere in the Philippines on September 18, 2013 as part of the Korean Movie Festival 2013.

Alternate ending[edit]

After director Jo Sung-hee revealed during one of the film's Q&A sessions that they had shot an alternate ending, due to popular demand, the movie was re-released on December 6, 2012 with that ending.[54][55] The alternate finale involves Park Bo-young's Sun-yi, and among the deleted scenes are moments from Ji-tae's (Yoo Yeon-seok) childhood as well as more focus on the neighborhood in which the plot unfolds.[56][57]

Book[edit]

A novelization was published on October 31, 2012, to coincide with the movie's opening day.[58]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2012 Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards

  • Best Supporting Actor: Seo Dong-soo

2013 KOFRA Film Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association)

2013 Asian Film Awards[59]

  • Nomination - Best Costume Design - Kwak Jung-ae

2013 Baeksang Arts Awards[60]

2013 Mnet 20's Choice Awards

2013 Buil Film Awards

  • Best Supporting Actress - Jang Young-nam
  • Nomination - Best Music - Shim Hyun-jung

2013 Grand Bell Awards

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Park, Eun-jee (26 October 2012). "Uncomplicated relationship central to A Werewolf Boy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  3. ^ Paquet, Darcy (5 October 2012). "In Focus: A Werewolf Boy". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  4. ^ Lee, Claire (5 November 2012). "Director scores debut hit with coming-of-age beast tale". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
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External links[edit]