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Original Title:
Bomnaleun ganda

South Korea 2001

Drama, Romance

Hur Jin-ho

Yu Ji-tae
Lee Yeong-a
Baek Sang-hui
Park In-hwan

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One Fine Spring Day

Story: Sang-Woo (Yu Ji-tae) is a sound engineer who lives with his father and his senile grandmother in a small suburban town. Together with the local DJ of a radio station Eun-su (Lee Yeong-ae), Sang-woo starts to record the sounds of nature like the rustling of wind going through a bamboo forest for a radio show. Because of their work the two get closer and eventually a relationship between them unfolds. Yet, only shortly after that the first problems start to occur and love doesn't seem to last for long...

Review: "One Fine Spring Day" is one of those tranquil, almost meditative movies, that can captivate and affect the viewer. Made by no one else than Hur Jin-ho who was also responsible for "Christmas in August", the movie can be touching despite a plot which is everything but new.
In the two hours running time of the film there is only little happening on screen. However, you are never really bored even for a minute. That is because of the intensity of the scenes. The relationship between Sang-woo and Eun-su is a commom one, which almost couldn't be any more simple. Here, nothing is unnecessarily over-romantic, but instead the feelings of the two lovers are conveyed very naturally, so that it's easy for the viewer to sympathize with them.
Although there are only few words spoken in the course of the movie the director manages with ease to bring even the slightest of emotional changes on screen, making the medium of speech nearly unnecessary.

To convey the numerous feelings in a believable way a movie like this is in strong need of good actors, and that's exactly what you will find in "One Fine Spring Day". The two main characters are very genuine, have their own individualities and feel like being taken out of real life. They are the true main component of the film and bring the plot forward on their own. One never has the feeling as if the story is working towards something, but instead actually the characters and their relationship are in the center of events, causing some expected or unexpected twists in the movie.

Yu Ji-tae's performance is very well done. He weaves a strong bond to the viewer, so that at every time you are able to put yourself into his place, giving you the opportunity to understand every single one of his emotional outbursts. Additionally, Lee Yeong-ae is also overwhelming and plays the part of Sang-woo's girlfriend splendidly.
Moreover, the supporting cast is also great and so the side plot around the senile grandmother who is waiting for her husband, who betrayed her several years ago, is as touching as the main story.

The wonderful pictures of nature are very impressive, and most of the time captured in panorama shots. This makes the naturalness, the power and freedom of nature almost physically touchable for the audience. Especially the sounds of a gurgling bourn, of falling snow or the wind going through a bamboo forest, will enchant you. The use of a good soundtrack at the more emotional scenes is done with care and makes the use of words unnecessary again.

Why the relationship between the two main protagonists suddenly doesn't work out anymore and what exactly the problems are they have to face is never told, yet it also seems to be unimportant. In fact it makes the collapse of their love story even more credible, since it's more natural this way. There may be several little reasons why it doesn't work out for the two anymore, and the viewer can choose of them as he pleases, but that's just not what "One Fine Spring Day" places value on. The movie emphasizes the vulnerability of men as you rarely can see it on screen, depicted by a believable relationship with all its ups and downs. However, some critics may point out that the woman sometimes is portrayed a bit too inhuman and evil.

When all is said and done, director Hur Jin-ho again manages as he already did with "Christmas in August", to let a putatively sad movie look as something else. He gives the viewer a feeling of strength and faith to carry on. So, you can't help, but to absorb the final picture of the film with a content smile.

If you aren't basically full of loathing towards quite movies and if you are ready to watch a credible and un-kitschy love story you will get your money's worth with "One Fine Spring Day"!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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