Christmas in August


A few years ago, I had seen a K-entertainment news on television, which showed a survey result that had been conducted. When the public was asked which female retired actress that they wanted to see the most to be acting again, the result was Shim Eun Ha. When I saw her name and photo, I went, Huh? Who’s that?

Later that week, I had remembered her name, and decided to check out which dramas or films she had been in on my computer.  Apparently, her most well-known work was a film called Christmas in August.  I had actually been meaning to write about this actress and this movie to y’all last month, when she had been in the news again. She had been released from the hospital and is well now, but it was reported that she had overdosed on sleeping pills.

As one of the popular K-actresses in the ’90s, it was in 2001 when she had officially retired, and had then gotten married to a lawmaker about 4 years later. (Personally, I wish he had been a better-lookin’ lawmaker for her, but ah well.) They have 2 middle school age daughters.

One of the things that she had begun doing about 3 years ago, which the public had ecstactically (almost couldn’t spell that) thought was her making a comeback into the entertainment world again, was when she had taken part in a Christian radio program for the FEBC station. Unfortunately for her fans, though, she said that she actually had no desire to make a return to entertainment again, but just wanted to be a part of this Christian radio program, because she listened to it regularly.  So each weekday afternoon, she reads 3-minute Christian messages on the radio program.


Christmas in August

This film was released in 1998 and is a romantic melodrama (a Kleenex movie).  The love story is between a small portrait shop photographer named Jung Won, and a parking agent named Darim.

Why this movie is a sappy one: the photographer knows that he’s about to die. But he continues to live his life as if he’s in perfect health. He lives, he smiles, he helps his father, meets with his old friends, and everyone thinks his life is as usual…until he’s gone.

Because of the film’s success, it had been invited to be in the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, the Hong Kong Art Center, and the Broadway Cinematheque. And it was one of Movie Week’s 10 Best Korean Romance/Melodrama from 1980-2007.  In 2007, a Japanese remake was made, but the female character’s job was made to be a teacher, instead of a parking agent.


My Thoughts

If there ever was a movie that had made me wanna kick a trash can cuz it had made me cry all over myself again, as hard as I tried my best to not cry, it was this one.  It was one of those annoying movies that had those types of endings which you wished to goodness that they had ended otherwise.  So for those of y’all who are like me, who think that all movies are supposed to have a good endings, where everyone makes up with each other, lost loves come together, and the happy couple goes riding/strolling down into the sunset in bliss, this movie is not for you.  So my advice: getcho tissue box ready and your trash can too, cuz you’re gonna wanna kick it too, I bet.

Sure, all of that Cannes Film Festival stuff sounds great.  But what had made me wanna watch this film the most, was when I had read about how there was a part in it, in which the photographer tries to teach his father how to use the VCR remote control.  After trying to explain to his father how it works, he ends up getting all frustrated, and then leaves the room.

As soon as I had read that part about this movie, I just had to watch it right away. Because this is what I do at least once every few months with my own Pops.  If he ever walks towards me with his remote control in hand, it’s because he’s trying to tell me that his TV isn’t working correctly again.  Usually, it’s cuz one of the buttons had gotten accidentally pressed on the universal remote control again.  But no matter how many times I’ve tried to explain and show him how to make the remote control to work right again, he just ignores my instructions, and just wants his working-remote control back again.  So for those of y’all who greatly miss your own Pops too, this would be another reason to get your tissue boxes ready before watching this movie.


Closing Sappyness for Good Measure

Ya didn’t even watch the movie yet, and here you are gettin’ all sappy cuz of my constantly tellin’ you to go grab your tissue boxes and trash cans.  But just in case ya aren’t gettin’ even a tad bit teary already yet, this quote about the film may be da one to read that’ll put ya right over:

The film’s final quote:

“I knew that someday love would become nothing but a memory, like the countless photographs left behind in my recollections. But you alone have remained a part of me. I leave these words to thank you for letting me depart with your love.”   ~ Jungwon

This explains the reason why Jungwon did not try to tell Darim that he was fatally ill and did not try to reach out or explain to her his sudden disappearance.  Jungwon did not want to taint the love he and Darim shared.  It can be speculated that he did not want it to be love out of pity.  Like a photo, he wanted to preserve his memories of Darim while they were still innocent and happy, unlike his childhood love, which turned out to be an unfortunate ending.  This allowed him to die peacefully, departing from the world with his innocent memories of her.  In the scenes where his childhood lover came back, she requested him to take down her portrait.  But at the end of the movie, it is seen that Darim’s portrait remained in his shop window, symbolizing how Jungwon will never forget about her and take her out of his life.


You can watch the 1hr 40 minute film here.  Click on cc for English subtitles.




2 thoughts on “Christmas in August

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