A blessing in disguise: Dong-ju, a friend as well as a teacher
Based on the enormously popular novel about the coming-of-age story of “Wandeugi,” this film adaptation is proving to be a big hit in South Korea at #1 in the box office for 4 weeks straight. A film that relates to all those who have had a life-changing mentor, Korean audiences are in love with <PUNCH> and the uplifting messages it evokes. Although firmly rooted in the coming-of-age genre at the start of the film, it transforms into a family and social drama dealing with such crucial issues of education, disability, and multi-culturalism.
“Wandeugi,” the sensational best-selling novel
that sold over 700,000 copies comes to life on the big screen this fall
Writer KIM Lyeo-Ryung’s novel Wandeugi won the 1st Annual Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction in a unanimous decision by the judges. The novel tells the story of a boy named Wan-deuk whose underprivileged upbringing causes him to isolate himself in his own world. The nosy but compassionate care of his homeroom teacher Dong-ju compels Wan-deuk to slowly open up and truly interact with the world. The novel’s lively wit garnered a great deal of attention from readers upon publication in 2008, and over 200,000 copies were sold in its first year of release. It was selected as a “Reader’s Pick” on the online bookstore, Aladdin and many other top literature blogs. To date, “Wandeugi” has sold over 700,000 copies and continues to hold its place among Korea’s top best-selling novels.
The novel takes what could be a rather serious and grave subject matter and boldly weaves it into an innovative and ebullient story through droll dialogue between refreshingly new characters. At the same time, a warm and soothing sentiment flows throughout the profoundly moving story, allowing for readers young and old to relate to the characters. The immense success of the novel eventually led to an adaptation of the story for the theater, resulting in an astounding 11 encore productions of the show after its initial opening.
In 2011, audiences will now have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the original work through the film <PUNCH> as well as the amazing performances of KIM Yun-seok and YU Aine as the beloved characters Dong-ju and Wan-deuk.
<PUNCH> touches upon social issues involving multiracialism in South Korea
According to recent statistics, Immigrants in South Korea only count for around 1% of the population, but are a growing force as international marriages increase due to lack of marriageable Korean women in the countryside. Many immigrants from neighboring countries are paid to immigrate to South Korea for marriage and are also in Korea to escape from their own country’s financial hardships. Unfortunately, they often face harsh living and working conditions with little to no support.
In the film, <PUNCH>, Wan-deuk finds out that his runaway mother is actually Filipino and has been attending a small multicultural church that is funded and headed by his worst enemy and teacher, Dong-ju. Shocked to find out about his Filipino mother as well as his multiracial ethnic background, Wan-deuk copes with these changes and learns to embrace his unique circumstances. Touching upon a current social issue in South Korea, <PUNCH> reveals the hardships and sentimental lifestyles of illegal immigrants in the country. As an avid supporter for the wellness and care of illegal immigrants who are working just as hard as anyone else in the country, Dong-ju encourages Wan-deuk to love his mother and himself as they are. Uplifting and heart-warming, <PUNCH>’s witty and comedic humor is well balanced with the underlying story of multiracialism.
One of Korea’s most talented and successful actors, KIM Yun-seok, joins YU Aine,
a young rising star from the hit TV drama <Sungkyunkwan Scandal>
KIM Yun-seok has established himself as one of the most beloved actors in the business, boasting talent and continual success at each role. He plays dramatic and unforgettable characters in films such as <Tazza: The High Rollers>, <The Chaser>, <Running Turtle>, <Woochi>, and his most recent film <The Yellow Sea>. KIM has worked with the likes of CHO Seung-woo, HA Jeong-woo, and KANG Dong-won, and now comes together on screen with the young star YU Aine. YU’s performance as Geol-oh in the hit TV drama <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> was a nationwide sensation, often referred to as the “Geol-oh Fever.”
KIM takes on a humorous and likeable new role in <Wandeukyi> as the foul-mouthed but warm-hearted teacher Dong-ju. YU adds his signature combination of naiveté and disobedience in his mature portrayal of the soft-spoken rebel Wan-deuk. The two talented actors come together on screen for the first time, telling the unique story of a mentor and mentee who gradually change one another’s lives despite their unfriendly beginning. The combination of KIM’s acting talent and YU’s evolving performance results in an intriguing encounter audiences won’t want to miss.
A nosy teacher and a soft-spoken rebel...
An unpredictable set of characters that evoke laughter through witty dialogue
One of <PUNCH>’s greatest strengths is the unpredictable and lively personalities of its lead characters. Dong-ju is a teacher who freely uses profanity and harsh words in front of his students and earnestly tells them that they really needn’t bother studying if they don’t have the brains to begin with. Unlike any other teacher before, this character breaks the encouraging and loving teacher stereotype. Wan-deuk is also a new kind of rebel who likes to think he can physically fight off anyone who challenges him and pleads with God to kill his meddlesome teacher. The back-and-forth bickering and witty dialogue between the two often progresses in a direction as unpredictable as the characters themselves, emphasizing the humor and heartwarming qualities of their idiosyncratic relationship. Even the supporting characters are unforgettable: the grumpy next-door neighbor who constantly screams out profanities and the various classmates each with their own set of teenage problems to deal with. Every character is unique without being exaggerated and familiar while being surprisingly refreshing. The laughter they create together, combined with each character’s moving story, will create a whole new kind of movie-going experience.