This week we’re watching, or should I say mesmerised by, the stunning work of director and screenwriter Hae-Jun Lee. ‘Castaway on the Moon’ is a cinematic experience that speaks volumes about friendship and magical realism. This film diminishes the assertions of the romantic comedy genre and presents human characters that appear beautiful and flawed.
Not to be confused with the Tom Hanks’ classic ‘Castaway’, ‘Castaway on the Moon’ explores the interaction and communication between two isolated people. The story begins as the protagonist ‘Male Kim’ (Jae-yeong Jeong), attempts suicide by jumping off a bridge, only to end up on a ‘deserted island’ which is a strip of land under a motorway bridge by the river. Watching from afar is a young girl ‘Female Kim’, (Ryeowon Jung), she is psychologically troubled to say the least. She confines herself to her room and her only interaction with the outside world is through her computer, creating a fake existence with her virtual following. The only time she bothers to care about the outside world is when she’s capturing stills of the moon. The only place she sees without people. Upon discovering her ‘alien’ (Male Kim), Female Kim seeks comfort in communicating with the man she finds under the motorway bridge, taking pictures to document his survival story.
Visually beautiful and unexplainably perplexing, this film emphasises the originality of Korean cinema. It touched all corners of the globe with its simplistic narrative embellished by touching characterisation and interaction.
‘Castaway on the Moon’ won four awards: Original and Creative Screenplay at the Hawaii International Film Festival 2009, the Audience Award at the Oslo Films From The South Festival 2010, the Audience Award and the Black Dragon Audience Award at the Udine Far East Film Festival 2010. Its international recognition has sparked rumours of a Hollywood remake!
I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies as it challenges its genre conventions and creates a mesmerising, beautiful narrative that stays with you for a long time. The comedic aspects of the film are laugh out loud and the touching moments are unspeakably moving.
Check out the trailer!