TREASURE CHEST: Wonder of “Il mare” (2000.)

original title: “Siworae”

Before Christmas the girl has left a postcard to the new tenant of “Il Mare”. “Il mare” is the house on the lake. Famous architect built it for his son. She’s gone to the new place but the letter she expected hasn’t yet arrived. Will the new tenant be so kind to forward it to her? Merry Christmas and happy new Millennium. Date: 23. 12. 1999.

The son of the famous architect moved into his new home on the lake. He gave the name to the place: “Il mare”. House on the sea. He studies architecture and everything seems pointless to him. There is a letterbox in front of the house. In it, the letter is found. Someone is making a joke out of him. The letter is sent in 1999. Problem is, he moved to “Il mare” on 23. 12. 1997.

Two people, two years apart. They don’t believe to each other at first. After a while they are forced to admit that improbable, however impossible, is likely to be the true. That conclusion, out of Arthur Conan Doyle’s pen, is base for a twisted correspondence between the past and the future. Everything is magical around them. New millennium is coming. Everything will be possible in the new millennium. In that magical expectation, their story is possible as any other. They develop a relationship. “Il Mare” becomes mystical place and the magical letterbox in front of the house is in the center of it. Two characters, two years apart. In the magical world of wonderful photography and colors the real world is irrelevant. Thing with the real world is: it can rarely be ignored.

Around fantastic plot like that Korean director Hyun-seung Lee built this romantic drama in which the relationship of the two people is influenced by the time between them. Two years aren’t a big period but when the emotions are concerned it’s huge. When Han Sung-hyun (Jung-Jae Lee) sees Kim Eun-ju (Gianna Jun) she’s not aware of him. The real and the magical meet at last. Two people in the middle of the clash need to learn about themselves. It’s impossible to stay the same and not to rip the fabric of time in between. Sacrifices will be needed if they want the magic to survive.

This Korean film is made before the “Oldboy” and “Memories of the murder”, two best Korean films of the twenty first century. Everything in it is beautiful. Surroundings and locations in the film are the locations of a fairy-tale. “Il mare” in a sense is a fairy-tale. Fantastic in it is used to make us wonder, to amuse us. American remake of this movie was made in 2006 and what I find interesting in comparison is that the Korean original is often described as kaleidoscopic and hard to follow. I don’t think that’s the case since the montage of the original is precise and well made. In my opinion, American version lacks the atmosphere of the original, especially in the artistic way of how the film was directed. There is something in the Hyun-seung Lee’s direction of the movie which makes it seducing and passionate and it’s so obviously missed in the remake.

“Il mare” is a feel-good film in the end. It is romantic and different from the usual movies. I would highly recommend it. If you need romantic movie with a dash of fantastic and magical “Il Mare” is an ideal choice.

Rating: 8 / 10


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