Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Actresses

The Actresses is a South Korean film produced in 2009 by director E J-yong. According to Wikipedia, director E J-yong was inspired by two of his close actress friends, Yoon Yeo-jeong and Ko Hyeon-jeong and wanted to show the public how charming actresses are in real life. So Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Ko Hyeon-jeong, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-bin, together with director E J-yong wrote the script (which was improvised). E J-yong would provide the conflict and the actresses improvised, which included a real-life confrontation between Ko Hyeon-jeong and Choi Ji-woo, each admitting that their on-set relationship was strained, with Ko Hyeon-jeong admitting that she felt envious of Choi Ji-woo's looks. 

So together, the 6 actresses, portraying themselves in the film, come together for a Vogue magazine photo shoot on Christmas Eve, resulting in a clash of egos between individuals not used to sharing the limelight...

I had the opportunity to watch this over Mio TV, and found that the documentary styled filming was interesting, it was a little obvious that the script was mostly improvised and had a different ‘feel’ to it. Initially I thought that it was a documentary about the actresses rather than a film. But it is a pretty creative collaboration, as the film abandons the traditional story structure and goes on the actresses’ real-life interaction and improvisation’ showing that they are not are flawless as the public seems to think they are as they are also humans.

The film is set on 2008 Christmas Eve, where Vogue Korea manages to gather 6 of Korea's top actresses, for a photo shoot with the theme "actresses more precious than gems". Each actress representing a generation (20s to 60s): veterans actresses Yoon Yeojung and Lee Misook, Ko Hyeon-jeong, international star Choi Jiwoo, Kim Mihee and Kim Okbin (the younger actresses), immediately show their different personalities with the manner the arrive on set. The tensions are apparent from the start, but as the night unfolds, the Vogue staff (playing themselves) try to keep it together when a shipment of gems get stuck in a snowstorm in Japan. This leads to the actresses fighting and eventually bonding, coming to a somber and heartfelt discussion of what life is like in the public eye for women like them.

The film doesn’t really have a storyline just the interactions and drama (conflict, delayed gems etc…) between the 6 actresses who are not used to sharing the limelight. Although the actresses were supposedly playing themselves, you wouldn’t know how much of their “chats” were real. It really felt at times that they were trying to convey something to the audience an image to fight or confirm (during their little Christmas party while waiting for the delayed gems, which never arrived). But overall, it was an interesting film and rather enjoyable in its documentary-style fiction that was both hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.


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