South Korea 2001
Failan - OST
Review: Lee Jae-jin composed a warm and at the same time sad soundtrack for the drama picture "Failan". A
score that perfectly captures the movie's atmosphere and mood. Every time the strings come into play, you can clearly
hear that this isn't a symphonic soundtrack, but that a synthesizer did all the work instead. Still, that's no problem
at all, since the score oftentimes relies on noteable piano pieces, which serve us with some good themes that are easily
recognizable after a while and get repeated while undergoing several alternations. Even when the strings are in the
musical focus, we are happily willing to "overhear" that they were just created at a keyboard.
The OST to "Failan" has a very flowing and melancholic character, that always manages to bestow a pleased smile on you.
As the movie does, this score, too, despite all the grief and drama, also radiates a certain kind of warmth, that is
very affecting and creates a fuzzy feeling in the listener.
Cecilia Cheung gives a little introduction with some words in broken Korean, which I first believed to be
Cantonese, though. She should work on her pronounciation, I guess.
Right after this a melancholic, yet friendly motif is played by a wind instrument, which often gets
outplayed by the strings and is supported by reserved piano sounds. In "Prologue Voyage" we get to hear one of the
main motifs, which is slowly introduced to us by a piano, and is accompanied by the modest use of some strings.
This motif gets picked up again and is getting many alternations in "First Letter", "Kang-jae in the Picture",
"Job Agency" and "Kang-jae's Room". It is obvious that with its sad, and yet somehow hopeful motif these tracks are
supposed to represent Kang-jae's theme.
"Morning Bicycle 1", with its more joyful and jumpy tunes stronly reminds us of a dreamy autumn day.
"Sea of Failan", "Morning Bicycle 2", as well as "Hope" take up the motif again, whereas it gets played a little
bit faster at times or slower at others. Furthermore, in "Morning Bicycle 2" we also get to listen to the scene in which
the Korean lady, who gave Failan shelter and a home, tries to teach Cecilia Cheung some words of Korean. That's not
only quite funny, but also brings back the pictures of the movie to your mind. Failan's theme is refreshingly
blithe, without losing the melancholic aftertaste that naturally comes with it.
It's pretty apparent that most of the tracks on the CD aren't exceeding the 2 or even 1 minute mark. Therefore, you
could call many of them pieces that only fill the gaps of the CD. But actually the tracks always fade into the next
one very well, so that we don't get the feeling that there are several short tracks, but instead almost think of the
CD as one single big track.
With its running time of more than 4 minutes we are lead to believe that "Last Letter" may deliver more than any of
the other pieces, but actually we just get reheated old stuff. Even though luckily in a more diverse way than it
was the case with some other titles, where you almost had the feeling that they were just pressed 1:1 on the CD
for a second time.
The CD's highlight is without a doubt the only sung piece of the soundtrack: "Love". "Kang-jae's Choice" already
gave us a little foretaste of this track with its quite acoustic guitar tunes. "Love" starts with a gentle guitar
solo and is occassionaly accompanied by a very reserved piano. Cecilia Cheung's voice stands in the song's
focus, of course, whereas she sings in Mandarin-Chinese. As we know, Cheung's voice has a distinctive scratchy
sound, but when she sings this really isn't apparent anymore. She may not be what you would call a born singer,
but at least she can sing. Not for nothing she is also a successful Canto-Popstar. Well ok, latter might not be a
Still, it remains a fact that "Love" is a very nice, tranquil and sad song full of yearning, which also fits very
well into the rest of the soundtrack.
"End Title" is a good title to mark the end of this CD. It picks up Kang-jaes theme again and leaves us with the same
warm, longing, hopeful and at the same time sad feeling, that this score conveys all the way through. Lee Jae-jin
may not have created a masterpiece, but still composed a nice soundtrack, which will especially please any
romantic. With its dreamy and melancholic tunes the different pieces make up for a very good whole, which just
lasts 36 minutes. For making up for the short running time the producers try to console us with a few data tracks,
like a trailer and
a music video, but it just doesn't justify the price you have to pay if you want to get your hands on this
CD. Since the soundtrack is just a bit too short there are some deductions concerning the overall rating.
Nevertheless, "Failan" surprises with nice motifs that are even recognizable after a few times listening to them,
which is not the norm for a drama soundtrack. The warm feeling the OST can arouse in the listener is definitely a
good reason to buy this CD.
Copyright © 2007 AsianMovieWeb
02. Prologue Voyage
03. Morning Bicycle 1
04. Kang-jae's Winter
05. First Letter
06. Kang-jae in the Picture
07. Sea of Failan
08. Kang-jae's Choice
09. Kang-jae and Failan
10. Kang-jae's Motel Room
11. Morning Bicycle 2
12. Job Agency
13. Kang-jae in the Picture
14. Last Letter
16. Kang-jae's Room
18. Kang Beak-ran
20. End Title
Running Time = 36:08