Review by: T. Mathenia
Ahh, people with dreams. Summertime for high-school aged kids has long lent itself to great coming of age stories. Korean film, GROGGY SUMMER – 그로기 썸머 by indie director Yun Su-ik is no different.
Shot with a slew of intimate close-ups the audience can’t help but be emotionally drawn in as the lead character Min-joon tries to find his way. Just like the heat of summer becomes hard to bear so too does the inner and outer rejection this wanna-be-famous-and-published poet faces. Cheered on by his friends telling him how great his work is his youthful ambition leads him to think that success is simple and assured. That it will be quick. But, usually that isn’t the way life works and the hammer hits him hard when he’s faced with the reality that he just might end up like dear old dad if he follows his poetic dreams.
The summer starts off fresh and new, like his dreams. But as it drags on and the heat builds so too does Min-joon’s frustrations about life and his poetic future. His vision becomes “groggy”. Hot and heavy with the season.
His father is a failed artist and he absolutely does not want to become like Dad. But yes, his aspirations lean towards the literary world so his worst fear is his most likely outcome. Mom loves him but doesn’t support his literary dreams. Dad is no help in the life game plan arena. There are no “look son you have to have a plan b talks”. Mom doesn’t tell him things like, “Hey I love you kid and I support you but you are looking at college all wrong. It might be the tool you need to buy you time and build up your resources as you pursue your dreams…yada yada yada”. All she does is burn his poetry books and says things like “look at your sorry ass Daddy! Do you want to be like him? Go to school!”
Jeeze the baby bird really will most likely fall because of the lack of flying lessons.
The most frustrating aspect to the film are Min-joon’s parents. They have given up on their dreams and are resolved to let him give up on his as well. Cinematically, I’m a fan of close ups. I want and like to drawn into the character’s heads which made GROGGY SUMMER a very good film for me. I found the 75 minute mark just enough time to become invested in the story. This is one of those films that remain with you after the credits have rolled.
*Screened at the 2013 Jeonju International Film Festival
|No rating, 75 minutes|
|Director: Yun Su-Ik|