Punch (2011 film)
|Directed by||Lee Han|
|Produced by||Kim Dong-woo
|Written by||Kim Dong-woo|
by Kim Ryeo-ryeong
|Music by||Lee Jae-jin|
|Edited by||Nam Na-yeong|
|Distributed by||CJ E&M Pictures|
Punch (Hangul: 완득이; RR: Wan-deuki) is a 2011 South Korean coming-of-age film directed by Lee Han about the budding mentor-mentee relationship forged between a rebellious high school student from a poor household (Yoo Ah-in) and his meddlesome homeroom teacher who moves in next door (Kim Yoon-seok).
Eighteen-year-old Do Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) lives with his hunchback father Gak-seol (Park Su-yeong) and stuttering uncle Min-gu (Kim Young-jae), former cabaret clowns now having to work in open-air markets after the closure of the nightclub they used for many years. Wan-deuk never knew his mother, who walked out 17 years ago, and has become a young brawler. His unconventional high school teacher, Lee Dong-ju (Kim Yoon-seok), who treats all his students with equal harshness, lives on the rooftop next door and is always on Wan-deuk's back. Both are perpetually insulted by a grouchy neighbor (Kim Sang-ho), who lives with his younger sister Lee Ho-jeong (Park Hyo-joo), a writer of "existential martial arts novels" under the pen-name Moonbow. When Gak-seol and Min-ju start going on the road looking for work, Gak-seol asks Dong-ju to keep an eye on his son, and the two become closer. Dong-ju tells Wan-deuk his mother, Lee Suk-gi (Jasmine B. Lee) is actually a Filipina and working in a restaurant in Seongnam, a satellite city south of Seoul. Thanks to Dong-ju, mother and son finally meet for the first time. Meanwhile, Jeong Yun-ha (Kang Byul), the brightest pupil in class, has taken a liking to Wan-deuk after splitting with her boyfriend Hyeok-ju (Kim Dong-yeong). When Wan-deuk takes up kickboxing to funnel his aggression, Yun-ha helps him. But just when Wan-deuk has come to rely on Dong-ju's tutorship, the latter is arrested by the police for helping illegal immigrant workers.
- Yoo Ah-in ... Do Wan-deuk
- Kim Yoon-seok ... Lee Dong-ju
- Jasmine B. Lee ... Lee Suk-gi
- Park Su-yeong .... Do Gak-seol
- Park Hyo-joo ... Lee Ho-jeong
- Kim Young-jae ... Min-gu
- Kang Byul ... Jeong Yun-ha
- Kim Dong-yeong ... Hyeok-ju
- Ahn Gil-kang ... next-door neighbor
- Sudip Banerjee ... Hassam
- Jo Duk-je ... director of students
- Lee Jae-gu ... cabaret strongman
- Han Eun-sun ... cabaret female employee
- Lee Sol-gu ... street market man 2
- Sung Yoo-bin ... young Wan-deuk
Differences from the novel
In a Q&A session after the world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, director Lee Han stated that the female character Lee Ho-jeong, who was not in the original novel, was added as the love interest of high school teacher Lee Dong-ju to allow the audience to empathize with him more.
Punch brought to the forefront several of the less recognized features of a changing Korean cultural landscape: intercultural marriage and multicultural households, a growing population of migrant workers, an education system narrowly focused on preparation for university entrance examinations, and the economic vulnerability of the disabled. As such, no one expected the film to make a lot of money.
But Punch sold 640,000 tickets on its opening week of release, then claimed the top spot at the box office for the second consecutive week by selling over two million tickets. The film's popularity grew through word of mouth, with an unprecedented number of schools, government offices, and private companies arranging for group viewings.
Punch eventually sold 5.3 million tickets in South Korea during its box office run. The movie ranks #3 for Korean film ticket sales in 2011 and #4 for ticket sales for all films released in South Korea in 2011.
Commenting on the positive reception, director Lee Han told Yonhap News that the seemingly eclectic ensemble of characters who appear in Punch, though they rarely receive the limelight, are present and active as members of Korean society. Lee spoke of how the warmth and honesty with which he tried to portray these characters and introduce their daily lives has resonated with viewers.
Since the film's release, Filipina actress Jasmine B. Lee, a naturalized Korean, has become well known for playing the mother of the young protagonist. The recognition of her performance as an actress has also brought publicity to her social activities as the secretary general of Waterdrop, a charity she formed for migrant women, and as one of the first non-Korean civil servants at the Seoul Global Center. Her connection to the film has increased recognition of the variety of services available for foreigners living in Korea. She was later elected in 2012 as a proportional representative in South Korea’s National Assembly, the first Filipina and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker.
Awards and nominations
2012 KOFRA Film Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association)
2012 Film Festival Zlín
- Ecumenical Jury Award
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