Unique territory -- the intimate life of a true hermaphrodite -- is staked out by this highly personal effort, a graduation project for film student Choi Hyun Jung. But her view of the middle sex yields decidedly middling results, especially due to her ceaseless and generally inexplicable meddling in the subject's on-screen answers.

Unique territory — the intimate life of a true hermaphrodite — is staked out by this highly personal effort, a graduation project for film student Choi Hyun Jung. But her view of the middle sex yields decidedly middling results, especially due to her ceaseless and generally inexplicable meddling in the subject’s on-screen answers. Treatment is tame enough for some cable assignments.

Ju-Yong, in early 20s while pic was shot, was born with both male and female genitals and secondary traits, too, although J, as Choi refers to him/her, comes across mostly as male. Subject, helmer’s roommie for much of the time, is articulate and thoughtful in response to Choi’s probing. But the director increasingly manages to shift focus to herself as the three-year saga goes on, and changes wrought by a regimen of surgeries are somehow lost in the emphasis on her feelings about his actions. Some valuable observations about male-female dynamics in society, Asian or otherwise, are implied but muffled amid the ego trip.

Being Normal

South Korea

Production

A Chung-Ang U. (Seoul) production. (International sales: Film Messenger, Seoul.) Produced by Lee Min Jin, Park Ju Young. Executive producers, Lee Chung Jik, Lee Hyun Seung. Directed, written by Choi Hyun Jung.

Crew

Camera (color-BetaSP), Choi, Lee Min Jin, Park Ju Young; editor, Choi, Lee Yick Sung, Jo Jung Rae; music, Park Min-Sun. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Dragons & Tigers), Oct. 3, 2003. (Also in Pusan Film Festival) Running time: 58 MIN.

With

Ju-Yong, Choi Hyun Jung.
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