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Plum Blossom

A first-love story that extends into an examination of sexual confusion among youngsters on the cusp of their 20s, "Plum Blossom" is hardly the soupy melodrama signaled by its exotic English title. Enlivened by yards of realistic, but not graphic, sack activity, it's a part-lively, part-sad movie, well shot, that's let down by a so-so script.

With:
With: Jin Heui-kyeong, Kim Jeong-hyeon, Bae Du-na, Kim Rae-weon, Yun Ji-hye.

A first-love story that extends into an examination of sexual confusion among youngsters on the cusp of their 20s, “Plum Blossom” is hardly the soupy melodrama signaled by its exotic English title. Enlivened by yards of realistic, but not graphic, sack activity, it’s a part-lively, part-sad movie, well shot, that’s let down by a so-so script. Pic continues South Korean cinema’s growing rep for full-on, sexually-themed fare.

High school senior Ja-hyo (Kim Rae-weon) is seduced at his new school by classmate Ha-ra (Yun Ji-hye), who eventually commits suicide when he ignores her. Unable to form lasting attachments to women, he subsequently hooks up with perky nurse Nam-ok (Bae Du-na), but she’s not about to let him slide away so easily. Meanwhile, Ja-hyo’s pal, Su-in (Kim Jeong-hyeon), has developed a crush on his teacher, Jeong-hye (Jin Heui-kyeong), that’s socially taboo. Bae has real presence as the spunky, working-class nurse with an equally no-nonsense mother, and Jin (from “Girls’ Night Out”) brings a serene maturity to the teacher. However, dialogue scenes between the young men, about sex, love and male-female differences, rarely match their ambitions. Korean title simply means “Youth.”

Plum Blossom

South Korea

Production: A Cinema Service release of an Eye Pictures production. Produced by Lee Weon-ki. Executive producer, Choi Jae-weon. Directed, written by Kwak Ji-kyun.

Crew: Camera (color), Ham Sun-ho; editor, Kim Hyeon; music, Kim Seong-jun, Song Shi-hyeon; art director, Ku Jin-oh. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (industry screenings), South Korea, Oct. 11, 2000. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: With: Jin Heui-kyeong, Kim Jeong-hyeon, Bae Du-na, Kim Rae-weon, Yun Ji-hye.

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