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Beneath the Radar: April Snow

Director Hur Jin-ho's third feature is a bittersweet melodrama that will cast a spell over audiences. The South Korean director has yet again managed to craft a simple yet beautiful and emotive film, ...

Director Hur Jin-ho's third feature is a bittersweet melodrama that will cast a spell over audiences. The South Korean director has yet again managed to craft a simple yet beautiful and emotive film, following Christmas in August and One Fine Spring Day.

In-su (Bae Yong-joon) and Seo-young (Son Ye-jin) meet at a hospital in the wake of a car accident involving their spouses, who are in a coma. They discover that their critically ill partners were conducting an affair and begin to seek solace in each other, growing slowly closer. Their relationship comes under threat with the imminent awakening of one spouse and deteriorating health of the other.

Whilst the plot is not startlingly original, Hur Jin-ho slowly and subtly draws a tremendous amount of emotional tension from a straightforward narrative with minimal dialogue. He’s greatly assisted by Korean heartthrob Bae Yong-joon and Son Ye-jin, who deliver terrifically understated performances that perfectly match the film’s mood. There’s no clumsy handling of the serendipitous situation either, the events being played out at a perfect pace, allowing the audience to be progressively drawn into the drama.

Only the hardest of hearts could be resistant to this film, a patiently told and thoroughly involving melodrama.

April Snow is showing on 17 and 19 August at Filmhouse.

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