‘In Love and the War’ not typical war film
Published : Mar 23, 2011 - 19:58
Updated : Mar 23, 2011 - 19:58
Upcoming film tells a touching yet comical tale of a North Korean officer during the Korean War

Just about two months ahead of the Korean War, a young communist military officer (Kim Joo-hyeok) and his soldiers arrive in a secluded country town in Chungcheong Province.

Amid the intense political turmoil, the town, Seokjeongri, is peaceful. It is so remote that its people don’t even take the war rumor so seriously. And when the soldiers arrive, the people openly accept them and let them stay as long as they want.

Co-starring actor Kim Joo-hyeok and actress Jeong Ryeo-won, director Park Geon-yong’s upcoming film “In Love and the War” tells a tale of ideology-transcending friendship between communist soldiers and country farmers with caring heart.
From left: Actor Shin Jeong-geun, Jeong Ryeo-won, Kim Joo-hyeok, and Yoo Hae-jin at a press conference promoting their upcoming film, “In Love and the War” at Megabox Dongdaemun in Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)

The plot sounds awfully similar to “Welcome to Dongmakgol,” a 2005 film which was also set during the Korean War.

Yet director Park Geon-yong made it clear that his movie is not a replica of the 2005 movie.

“The two movies have nothing common with each other,” Park said at a press meeting held in Wednesday.

“Except they are both set during the Korean War.”

The upcoming film is in fact based on a true story.

Bae Se-young, who wrote the script for this film, developed the plot based on her grandmother’s experience during the war.

Before working on the script, Bae was told that communist soldiers had been at her grandmother’s village and that the soldiers and the villagers had formed a close friendship.

She was especially touched by the part where the young communist soldiers desperately wanted to stay in her grandmother’s town even when they had to retreat as the U.N. forces eventually occupied the area.

Kim Joo-hyeok, who stars as Jeong-woong, the young communist military officer, said mastering the regional accent of a North Korean province was the most challenging part of working on this movie.

“The most well-known North Korean accent in South Korea is the one of Hamgyeong Province,” Kim told reporters at the press meeting.

“The one I had to master was the one of Pyeongan Province of North Korea. It was more subtle than the one of Hamgyeong. It was somewhere in between the standard Seoul dialect and the Hamgyeong accent. I tried my best but I’m afraid it would still sound awkward to my viewers.”

Actress Jeong Ryeo-won, who is widely known for her sense of fashion, played Seol-hee, the town’s confident school teacher who eventually falls in love with Jeong-woong.

Playing the country woman in the 1950s, Jeong had to wear only one piece of costume throughout the film, with no make-up.

“Of course every actress wants to appear attractive in their films,” Jeong told reporters. “But I understood the intention of director Park after watching the footage. I learned a lot through this experience.”

Park said the charm of “In Love and the War” is it contains a great sense of humor while talking about national tragedy.

“It’s hard to reflect such tragic event in the genre of comedy,” Park said. “But my actors pulled through. I hope our viewers would appreciate that”

“In Love and the War” opens in theaters on April 28.

By Claire Lee (clairelee@heraldcorp.com)