Will Lee Kyeong Yeong Appear at the BIFF?
Lee Hun’s Odyssey has been officially invited to be screened at the 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). The 20 minute short is part of a longer omnibus film titled, A Journey With Korean Masters and stars Lee Kyeong Yeoung as the lead.
The invitation is particularly special for the actor, because although he has starred in many successful films this year, including Sunny, Countdown, Blue Salt and War of the Arrows, he’s only been able to take on supporting roles or special appearances.
The talented actor’s inability to score major roles is largely due to his arrest and trial in 2002 for sexually exploiting a minor, and though he finished serving in sentence, he has been banned from most major networks, including KBS and MBC, and has only been cast in supporting roles.
But with director Jung Ji Young’s leap of faith, Lee Kyeong Yeong has stepped up as a main character for the first time in 10 years, since his 2002 film, Again, costarring actress Lee Seung Yeon.
With this invitation from BIFF, Lee Kyeong Yeong will be able to meet his fans for the first time in a very long time.
The short film dramatizes an actual event that occurred between the director and his best friend, the late Lee Hun Ik, a reporter for the Joongang Daily. In the short, the reporter (Lee Kyeong Yeong) tries to write about his favorite senior, director Jung Ji Young, for an article to be published the next day, but falls asleep after drinking too much and fails to finish his piece.
After waking up, he believes that he’s missed his deadline, and writes a letter of resignation, but finds an article titled ‘Lee Hun’s Character Odyssey’ in the newspaper. He believes that he experienced a blackout at night, and tries to retrace his steps to figure out just how the article came to be.
“I imagined that my friend Lee Hun Ik, who enjoyed drinking, was still alive, and imagined what would happen if he tried to cover me as a film director,” director Jung Ji Young said about the story.
Lee Kyeong Yeong became reporter Lee Hun Ik, and acted alongside Myung Kye Nam, who appears as a chauffeur. The two met for the first time in 20 years since the film The Terrorist, and proved their friendship hadn’t died, by taking care of each other on set.
But whether Lee Gyeong Yeong will be able to appear in BIFF as an actor is questionable. Recently, the writer Kim Su Hyun
Implied that she supported Lee’s return to major channels, but immediately faced a backlash, as people began retaliating and insisting they didn’t want to see the sex offender on screen. Yet lately, a few others have seemed to begun supporting his comeback, saying they “hope Lee Kyeong Young will overcome his past,” so Lee Kyeong Young may be able to participate in the festival, at least unofficially.
Director Jung Ji Young will, of course, be appearing at the festival. As one of the big figures of Chungmuro, Jung made a name for himself through his ‘90s films, North Korea’s Southern Army, White Badge and The Life of a Hollywood Kid.
For a time, he left the movie scene, choosing to teach at Korea University, but returned to directing last year with Unbowed, a movie about the true story of a plaintiff who shot a crossbow at the chief prosecutor for his case, believing his sentence to be unjust.
Lee Hun’s Odyssey, with the other four films contained in the omnibus film A Journey with Korean Masters, will screen at the festival on October 12, and contains the short films, Lee Hun’s Odyssey (Director Jung Ji Young), Getting Blind (Director Lee Jang Ho), Cheoyongmoo, A Film by Lee Doo-Yong (Director Lee Doo Yong), Illusion (Director Park Chul Soo) and Old Man and the Lover (Director Byeon Jang Ho).