Following “Flower Island” and “Spider Forest,” South Korean director Song Il-gon touches down far more lightly with “Feathers in the Wind.” Yarn about a lonely filmmaker contemplating a past love is, like his other pics, self-consciously arty, but this time successfully blends a thoughtful sadness with a restrained joie de vivre. On January release, film did predictably small local B.O., but helmer’s rep should clinch some fest slots for this warm-hearted venture.
Though initially commissioned (as a short) by Seoul’s eco-centered Green Film Festival, film doesn’t get bogged down in environmental issues. Song lets the location speak for itself and focuses on the story at hand.
Jang Hyeon-seong (played by thesp of the same name, a cop in “Spider Forest”) is a thirtysomething film director who admits his last film was “mediocre.” With a script deadline looming, Jang retreats to an island on which, 10 years ago, he and his first love pledged to meet again.
With the date of their rendezvous imminent, but fully aware she’s unlikely to show up, Jang catches a ferry for the island, where the hotel is deserted during off-season. Minding the store is So-yeon (Lee So-yeon, from “Untold Scandal”), a jovial, Seoul-accented woman, 12 years Jang’s junior, who revels in the unspoiled environment.
With no one else about and Jang reluctant to write his script, the pair passes the days talking. Gradually, Jang reveals part of his motivation for visiting the remote locale. In turn, the playful So-yeon talks of her love for the tango.
On the rendezvous date, an upright piano is delivered to Jang by two hardy couriers. Interpreting the gift as a sign his former lover will not be arriving, Jang is reluctant to accept it. However, So-yeon is thrilled to have an instrument on which she can play music, and her growing infatuation with the piano reveals its secret.
Despite the pair’s growing intimacy, the relationship remains chaste for pic’s duration. The result is life-affirming rather than cliched romance. Only jarring note is a self-conscious subplot involving So-yeon’s uncle (Jo Seong-ha), who owns the hotel.
Song’s direction is assured, and the brevity of the movie, as well as the natural, amiable performances, ensures the measured pace never becomes boring. DV credits have an indie professionalism.
Korean title simply means “Feather,” ostensibly referring to a peacock feather So-yeon wears in her hair while practicing the tango. Extensive use of tango music plays a considerable role in keeping pic airborne.