Life, Once Again! - Chapter 698
“This place has some good food, doesn’t it?”
“Right. I guess you have to go around with someone who goes to a lot of places to be able to go to the good restaurants.”
Jangho left the store and saw that the store owner was shaking hands with Park Taeho. The full-course Korean restaurant that actor Park brought them to suited Jangho’s taste buds perfectly. Thanks to that, he had to loosen his belt buckle a little.
“You paid for the meal too, now I feel bad,” said the film director.
After saying goodbye to the store owner, Park Taeho said that it was nothing to worry about and just laughed.
“Then, I’ll buy the coffee. We might be working together in the future, so I should score some points when I can.”
The film production CEO took out his credit card. They went into a nearby coffee shop and ordered some coffee. While the coffee was coming out, they naturally started talking about the applicants of the youth film festival.
“We should decide on the grand prize first before talking about the rest, right?” journalist Kim Dongwook mentioned.
Everyone seemed to be in agreement with him.
“There are a few I want to pick that fit that criterion.”
It seemed that everyone had decided on a few pieces in their minds. There were a couple of pieces that came to Jangho’s mind when he thought about the grand prize. If he could vote, he would vote for one of the two.
“How about ‘I Walked the Streets’?”
The one who spoke first was the drama writer. As soon as he heard the title, Jangho could remember what that film was about. It was the only monochrome piece among the applicants. It was a film taken from the point of view of a girl who had failed the CSAT college exam, and it expressed the depressing color quite well by synchronizing it with the character’s feelings and the objects in the scene.
“That one was good. It wasn’t stretched out unnecessarily,” said the film production CEO.
The drama writer looked at other people. Jangho also said good things about it.
“It is quite cliché to have the colors return when she comes back home, but personally, I was a little touched. I quite liked it because the producer’s aims are quite clear,” the film director gave his opinion.
“The acting skills of the characters left room to be desired. Inputting sadness amidst complete ignorance is quite a hard technique to do after all. The overall good structure made the lack of acting skills stand out even more,” commented Park Taeho. He had approached it from the facet of acting.
The drama writer, who always retorted to everything, agreed this time.
“But I think it’s okay to put it as a candidate for the grand prize. Well, I might not have as good of an eye as everyone else here, but from the eyes of an ordinary civilian, that film was definitely interesting. As actor Park just said, there is room to be desired on the side of acting, but I quite liked it because that was the only thing that stood out to me as a flaw.”
Journalist Kim Dongwook also said that he liked the ‘I Walked the Streets’ piece.
“Then let’s put it on the list of candidates.”
Jangho marked it with a red pen on the list that he brought.
“We should choose a few like this and then select the final candidate later, and have the rest of them take the other prizes.”
“Sounds good. But aren’t we putting in too much effort?” remarked the drama writer as she stretched out her arms.
Everyone laughed after hearing that. Just then, they got their coffee. As it was a paper take-out cup, they drank a little in the coffee shop before returning to the judges’ office.
“Having coffee like this reminds me of director Park Joongjin who I met a little while ago,” Jangho said to the others who sat down with drowsy faces.
He brought out a different subject because it looked like they weren’t going to go back to the assessment immediately.
“You met director Park?”
The film director seemed to know him.
“Yes. I was a fan, so I always wanted to meet him, and I kinda got the chance a while ago. It wasn’t because of work or anything; I was just having some food with someone I know, and it was rather unexpected.”
Jangho thought about the Park Joongjin he saw that day and continued speaking,
“You know how everyone calls him a genius, right? I thought that he would be quite peculiar because of that, but it turned out he’s actually quite a prankster and down-to-earth.”
“Director Park does have a prankster-like side to him.”
Jangho nodded when he heard the film director’s words.
“We were going to talk about a film that was released last year, but he said that was no fun and I ended up listening to a coffee lecture on the spot. He talked about how coffee beans taste different according to the region and according to how they are fried, or whatnot. He also talked about a sense of the body or something, too. I wanted to talk to him about films, but I couldn’t speak a word about it.”
“Director Park is someone who puts a wall between him and films before he goes into pre-production. I mean, he’s someone who says he does it for the money in public places. Of course he’s weird.”
“Looking at it like that, it does seem like he’s a genius. Such a disinterested person gets at least 5 million views whenever he shoots a movie. The one that was released last year also got over 8 million, didn’t it?”
“It was a great comeback. Honestly speaking, I thought he would do a romance because he said he’s doing a commercial piece after a long time, but he did a noir film instead.”
“I really enjoyed it. It had been a long time since I last didn’t look at a watch during a movie.”
“So you must have looked at your watch frequently while watching my movie, right?” said the film director with a smile.
Jangho quickly replied that he didn’t, but in truth, he checked the time about three times during the film director’s movie.
“I don’t get why that was successful. Everyone was all crazy about it, so I did watch it, but that was so cliché, wasn’t it? Moreover, he used a completely inexperienced idol as a main character. I’m shocked that such a thing got 8 million views.”
“Didn’t you use an idol in a drama that you wrote last time?” asked journalist Kim Dongwook while spinning a pen in his hand.
The drama writer suddenly became quiet. Jangho inwardly snickered.
“Well then, let’s all stop and finish this up.”
The film director refreshed the atmosphere. The drama writer stared at the journalist without holding back her displeasure.
“Mr. Jangho. How is it? There are quite a few overlaps, right?”
Jangho replied yes before putting the combined list in the middle of the table.
“The opinions are mostly the same. First up, there are three pieces that all six of us have picked.”
“What are they?”
“The first one is ‘I Walked the Streets’, that we talked about back at the coffee shop.”
Jangho wrote it down in big handwriting on a new piece of paper.
“The next one is ‘The Reason the Boy Went Home Early’. This was a little unexpected. None of you talked about this before, so I thought I was the only one who found it good.”
That film was about a boy who dreamt about going home early from school for the sake of a girl who was going to move away soon. The freshness of people around that age as well as their cute recklessness made him smile throughout the whole film.
“Their idea was good. The subject is rather normal, but I liked how it turned out. They managed to find something that kids these days might do but do not actually do.”
That compliment was from the drama writer. Jangho thought that that was an extreme praise considering that it was from her.
“It’s a fantasy within everyday life. Actually, it’s not easy for students to come up with things like that. I mean, kids these days are very calculative when it comes to their studies, tests, and whatnot. Thinking about missing regular classes up front instead of supplementary classes is something unheard of amidst regular students,” the film director added.
Jangho nodded and read one of the comments left by the youth judges.
“This is one of the criticisms that the youth judges left behind, and it got stuck in my head. ‘That’s what we dream of’. It’s simple, but it’s a statement that represents the film itself.”
Jangho wrote down the second title on the paper.
“The last one is ‘Classroom’. I quite liked the director’s eyes for poking where it hurts so plainly. There were many pieces that talked about controversial topics, but most of them were too emotionally biased and went nowhere because they thought that they had to solve the problem.”
‘Classroom’ was about something that seemed plausible. It was about bullying, which made the headlines pretty frequently these days. Perhaps because of that, a total of seventeen pieces talked about that same topic. However, other than ‘Classroom’, the other pieces did not capture the balance of the film properly.
“‘Classroom’ focused on getting that topic out there. The director must have good skill in setting up the structure. It didn’t talk about the problem and show the bad sides of it before ending it in an awkward note like the others. It actually puts the result of the bullying as well as the bullied student’s feelings on the sidelines when progressing with the story. It does show the pain of the character in the film at the beginning of the piece, but they didn’t dive into it too much. Many students made the mistake of keeping the bullied student within a cruel environment in the frame. Most of them forget that it gets pretty tiring quickly.”
The film director smiled bitterly. Jangho agreed with that. Continuing to show a scene of fingernails being ripped off in order to show the painful side might be shocking at first, but if it was repeated several times, it would eventually get boring. Sometimes, it was necessary to defocus on the topic that they wanted to show. ‘Classroom’ followed that method pretty well.
“The ending was good too, wasn’t it? It wasn’t the awkward ‘justice is served’ ending. The role of the victim and the bully was switched, but they made it sympathizable. They didn’t emphasize the concept of good and evil, and it seemed more like they were asking ‘who is responsible for all of this?’ by showing what happened in the classroom. Honestly, it hurt me a little. I’m a parent, but I never thought about the matter of bullying so seriously after all. Maybe it’s because I think that ‘my child is not involved in such a thing’ as the basis of my judgment,” said the film production CEO.
“The plot itself is rather cliché, but I liked the scene structure. It allowed the audience to see the maximum of the main character’s feelings. It might lack that freshness, but I liked how they dealt with the topic as well as that mild ending. Of course, the acting was good too. The long take at the beginning made me think that it would have taken a long time to shoot.”
After hearing the drama writer’s words, the film director laughed and agreed. Jangho also thought about that scene. That kid, who ate some food without any fluctuation in emotion, was pretty impressive.
“His acting was really good.”
The film production CEO clicked his fingers. Jangho smiled in satisfaction without thinking. ‘Classroom’ was a film with one main character and many supporting characters, and the power of the lead character was pretty amazing. He has an absorption power that many talked about.
“Well then, let’s choose the grand prize among these three. This is just my opinion, but why don’t we give the two others the judge’s special prize?”
“Doesn’t sound bad. All three of them are worthy of prizes after all.”
Jangho picked up the piece of paper with the three titles.
“Then shall we decide on the grand prize now?”
* * *
Kim Dongwook was about to turn on the lighter for the cigarette in his mouth when he got a call, which made him put the cigarette on the back of his ear.
“Yes, president. You called at the perfect time. Yes, it’s been decided. I didn’t really need to do anything. It was on the list of grand prize candidates. Yes, just like that.”
Dongwook clicked his tongue as he thought about president Lee Junmin’s face which would be on the other side of the phone. Although the entertainment industry was now filled with words about how stars were not born but created, he didn’t know that people cared about a film festival organized by the city. When he was invited as a judge, he wondered what it was about, but he understood what it was about after getting a call from the president afterwards. It was Junmin who had put him in there. Dongwook was rather curious about what kind of methods he used, but he didn’t make the foolish decision of asking. A superior-subordinate relationship was the most ideal when both parties didn’t ask unnecessary questions.
“The ceremony will be in Myeongdong Artrex. Yes, then please have a good rest.”
Dongwook hung up before pushing the cigarette into the corner of his mouth.
“Man, South Korea is such a clean place.”
He puffed once. It was unknown whether the reason his mouth felt bitter was because of the cigarette or because of his underhanded actions. Only a newbie journalist would be able to differentiate between the two. Dongwook threw away the half-burnt cigarette and stepped on it to put it out.