First Korean Comedy Opens Spring Film Series

The Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies spring 2012 film series opens Tues­day (Jan­u­ary 24) with Han Hyŏng-Mo’s 1956 com­e­dy Hyper­bo­la of Youth 청춘쌍곡선. The screen­ing starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies audi­to­ri­um at 1881 East-West Road on the UH Manoa cam­pus.

Hyper­bo­la of Youth is wide­ly regard­ed as the first Kore­an com­e­dy film, but unlike the tight­ly script­ed roman­tic come­dies of 1950s Hol­ly­wood, it explodes off the screen, going in a mil­lion direc­tions at once. From delight­ful musi­cal num­bers to com­ic sit­u­a­tions, the film aban­dons the thread of the plot when­ev­er the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a song or a joke aris­es, putting this film clos­er to vaude­ville than Hol­ly­wood nar­ra­tive. Hold­ing the film togeth­er is a gen­tle satire of Moder­ni­ty, West­ern­iza­tion, and class dif­fer­ence.

The film tells the sto­ry of Myŏng-ho, a mid­dle-school teacher from a poor fam­i­ly, and Bu-nam, son of a trad­ing com­pa­ny pres­i­dent, who attend­ed the same uni­ver­si­ty. When both devel­op gas­tric problems–Bu-nam from eat­ing too much and Myŏng-ho from eat­ing too little–their doc­tor sug­gests they exchange lifestyles for two weeks. Liv­ing in each other’s homes, each one falls in love with the other’s sis­ter. The two cou­ples unite in a joint wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny.

The film screen­ings are free and open to all. Films shown are in Kore­an with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles. For a com­plete sched­ule of the film series, see [cref 1693]. For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, includ­ing infor­ma­tion regard­ing access for the hand­i­capped, tele­phone the Cen­ter at (808) 956‑7041.