Friend (2001 film)
|Directed by||Kwak Kyung-taek|
|Produced by||Seok Myeong-hong |
|Written by||Kwak Kyung-taek|
|Music by||Choi Man-sik |
|Edited by||Park Gok-ji|
|Distributed by||Korea Pictures|
|Box office||$44 million|
Friend (Hangul: 친구; RR: Chin-gu) is a 2001 South Korean action film written and directed by Kwak Kyung-taek. Upon its release, it became the highest-grossing South Korean movie of all time. Its record was surpassed in 2003 by Silmido.
This film is the director's experiences with his friends, a semi-autobiography set in his hometown, Busan, and the actors speak with a strongly accented Busan dialect. The film changed the public images of Jang Dong-gun and Yu Oh-seong; previously, Jang had been famous for romantic comedies and Yu had appeared in movies with mostly cult interest.
The film follows the lives of four childhood friends: Joon-seok, the leader of the group whose father is a powerful mob boss; Dong-su, whose father is an undertaker; class clown Jung-ho; and Sang-taek, who was an exemplary student. As children, they play together and sell sexually explicit pictures. In high school, they become smitten with the lead singer of a girl band their age. Joon-seok invites the band to a party at his house, where Sang-taek receives his first kiss from the lead singer, Jin-sook.
In school, Joon-seok and Dong-su get in trouble after a confrontation with a teacher; they apologize and only receive a light suspension. During an outing to the movies, Sang-taek catches the eye of a school kid he had picked a fight with earlier. Joon-seok and Dong-su fend off a whole rival school while Jung-ho protects Sang-taek. Dong-su smashes the school's glass cases with its awards and trophies and drops out of school. After graduation, Sang-taek and Jung-ho go to college but the others do not.
A few years later, Sang-taek and Jung-ho return to find Joon-seok married to Jin-sook. He is suffering withdrawal symptoms and is abusive towards his wife as a result of being addicted to philopon. Later, he recovers from his addiction, divorces his wife, and mourns his father's death. He assumes his father's role as a crime lord, working under Hyung-doo. Dong-su becomes a mobster with a rival organization, led by Sang-gon.
Joon-seok, Sang-taek, and Jung-ho remain close, drinking, singing karaoke, and eating galbi together. After Dong-su causes Joon-seok's boss to be imprisoned, a rogue assassination attempt, headed by Doruko, is led against Dong-su without Joon-seok's knowledge. The attack fails, and in retaliation, Dong-su mounts an attack on Joon-seok's fishing facilities, during which many of Joon-seok's men, including Doruko, are killed. After the attack, Joon-Seok feels that Dong-Su has turned against him, as he was unaware Doruko had plotted an assassination attempt. Joon-seok talks to Dong-su and asks if he would like to accompany him to see Sang-taek off to America. Dong-su says no. It is shown that Joon-seok knew Dong-Su is being targeted for assassination. He asks Dong-su to leave to be safe, but Dong-su refuses. Dong-su later decides to see Sang-taek off after all. However, as he is about to leave, he is betrayed by his own gang and stabbed to death by fellow gang members.
A few years later, Sang-taek returns to South Korea upon finishing his study abroad. Jung-ho explains that Joon-seok's gang sent him into hiding abroad. After two years, he was unable to stand the hiding any longer and had a mental breakdown. He was caught after attempting to kill himself in a foreign bar. Joon-seok stood trial for Dong-su's murder and pleaded guilty to ordering Dong-su's death, even though he is innocent.
Sang-taek visits Joon-seok in prison, and the two talk like old friends. Sang-taek asks why he pleaded guilty in court. Joon-seok simply replies, "Embarrassment. Me and Dong-su are mobsters. Mobsters shouldn't be embarrassed." Sang-taek and Joon-seok part ways, with Sang-taek promising to visit every month. The film ends with Joon-seok walking to his fate in prison life, reflecting on the past when they were all children, when they were all good friends.
- Yu Oh-seong as Joon-seok
- Jang Dong-gun as Dong-su
- Seo Tae-hwa as Sang-taek
- Jung Woon-taek as Jung-ho
- Kim Bo-kyung as Jin-sook
- Gi Ju-bong as "mustache"
- Lee Jae-yong as "blade scar"
- Joo Hyun as Joon-seok's father
- Kim Joon-beom as young Sang-taek
- Kang Shin-il as Sang-taek's father
- Kwon Nam-hee as Sang-taek's mother
- Park Nam-hee as Joon-seok's mother
- Tiger JK as Crime boss Kim
In 2001, Friend was nominated for five awards, three of which it won. At the 46th Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Yu Oh-seong and Jang Dong-gun won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards, respectively, for their performances in the film. At the 26th Montréal World Film Festival, Friend was nominated for the Grand Prix of the Americas award for best film, but lost to the Hungarian film Torzók and the Iranian film Baran. At the 16th Torino International Festival of Young Cinema, it won the Holden Award for best script, and was nominated, but missed out on, the Prize of the City of Torino award for best film.
In 2002, Friend received two more awards. It won the Student Jury Award at the 9th Manaki Brothers International Cinematographers' Film Festival, and Jung Woon-taek won Best New Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards.
Yu Oh-seong reprised his role in the 2013 sequel, which takes place seventeen years after the events of this film. In it, Joon-seok meets the grown-up son of Dong-su (Kim Woo-bin), interspersed with scenes of Joon-seok's own father (Joo Jin-mo) in 1963.
Joint Security Area (film)
| Top box office of South Korea
Joint Security Area
| Chunsa Film Art Awards for Best Film