Bungee jumping of their own, 2000 Bungee jumping of their own, 2000 - (English) TYPE5
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Film Date :   February 3, 2001
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Bungee jumping of their own, 2000
Despite being shackled with perhaps the dumbest English title in history of Korean film, Bungee Jumping of Their Own has drawn interest both in Korea and abroad for its unusual story and the fine performances of its actors. Its strength at the domestic box-office came as somewhat of a surprise, particularly given that it flirts with the issue of homosexual relationships and the hostile reception they usually receive in Korea.
The film opens in 1983, when university student In-woo becomes infatuated with a woman who shares his umbrella in a rainstorm. Their developing relationship is presented in fragments that highlight the awkwardness and humor of their situation, and yet the underlying seriousness of their feelings end up forming the crux of the story. After learning that In-woo must leave for his obligatory two-year service in the military, we jump 17 years into the future to find him as a high school teacher, married to another woman. His earlier insecurities appear to have vanished, and he commands the respect of his students for his passion and his willingness to stand up for their rights...

This is the debut film by director Kim Dae-seung, who worked for many years with Im Kwon-taek as an assistant director for such films as Sopyonje, The Taebaek Mountains, Festival, Downfallen, and Chunhyang. Although Bungee Jumping of Their Own does not feel in any way like an Im Kwon-taek film, the time Kim spent as an assistant director appears to have paid off, and he is surely a director to keep an eye on. Each of the film's three major segments contain vivid scenes, presented in a manner that strips them of their sentimentality. The film's opening is striking in its visuals, humor and sadness, while the scenes shot in the present contain an unusual energy. Later in the film the mood turns much more serious and issue-oriented, in an unusual plot twist that I omitted on purpose from the above synopsis.

One effect of these various moods is that it showcases the acting of Lee Byung-heon, who since his role in Joint Security Area has earned great respect for his talent (as opposed to his looks, which have always attracted notice). In Bungee Jumping of Their Own he excels, drawing laughs, respect and fear from his viewers in turn. Actress Lee Eun-ju is also outstanding in her smaller role, with her words and manner establishing the young couple's relationship as the key event of their lives.

The ultimate question for this work is whether it all holds together, as it unites a myriad of clashing moods and themes. At times it feels uneven, like it tried to cover too much ground, but the originality of this film will ensure that viewers do not soon forget it. (Darcy Paquet)

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