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Cheerleading 'Victory' rekindles '90s nostalgia

July 10, 2024 - 17:29 By Lee Yoon-seo
Park Se-wan (left) and Lee Hye-ri star in "Victory." (Mindmark)

A coming-of-age drama set in 1999, "Victory" will rekindle nostalgia and provide solace for those fatigued from the hardships of life, its director said Wednesday.

The film centers on Pil-sun (portrayed by Lee Hye-ri), who creates a cheerleading group to gain access to the school's dance room.

The film is set to premiere as the opening film of the 23rd New York Asian Film Festival, which runs from Friday until June 28 with Lee Hye-ri receiving the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award on the same day for her portrayal of Pil-sun.

With "Victory," he wanted to create a film that audiences could turn to when they feel weary of life, director Park Beom-su said.

Recalling a friend who watches the same film when going through tough times, Park said, "I wanted to create a film like that, with cheerleading as the theme."

Speaking at a press conference held in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Wednesday, he added, "Because I liked the dance and culture from the '90s so much, I decided to create a cheerleading story set in 1999."

"Victory" was written with Lee envisioned as the film's main lead, according to Park.

"The character needed to be energetic, likable, lovable, passionate and able to dance. When thinking about which actor embodied all these qualities, Lee came to mind," he said.

Meanwhile, the director was asked about concerns over a potential comparison between Pil-sun and Lee's previous character, Deok-sun, from hit series "Reply 1988." The two characters both have bright, carefree personalities and the two works are both set in the 1990s.

Regarding the concerns, Lee Hye-ri responded to the concerns, pointing to significant differences in the characters' appearances and personalities.

"It might be because of the retro vibe, but Pil-sun looks different from Deok-sun. Also, Pil-sun feels like a leader, someone friends want to follow, an admired older sister, a friend people look up to (unlike Deok-sun)," said Lee. In "Reply 1998," Deok-sun is a carefree high school student who moves through the stages of her youth while bearing the burden of being the middle child.

"Victory" will hit local theaters on Aug. 14.

Lee Hye-ri poses for a photo during a press conference held in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Wednesday. (Newsis)