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Castaway on the Moon

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Castaway on the Moon

(Kim Ssi Pyo Ryu Gi )
Sponsored by: CinéAsie & Korean Film Council

Montreal Premiere

  • South Korea 2009
  • 116 min
  • 35mm
  • Korean with English subtitles
WINNER: Audience Award, Udine Far East Film Festival 2010
WINNER: NETPAC Award, Hawaii International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival 2009



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"A smart idea... morphs into much, much more, and in touching, unexpected ways" — Derek Elley, VARIETY

"Definitely a hidden gem" — Irene Angelopoulos, TWITCH


Director: Lee Hae-jun
Screenplay: Lee Hae-jun
Cast: Jung Jae-young, Jung Rye-won, Yang Mi-kyung
Producers: Kim Moo-ryoung
Print Source: CJ Entertainment

Part of...

Korean Cinema   

Korean Cinema



Kim Seong-geun (Jung Jae-young) is perched on one of the bridges that crosses the Han River. He’s smothered under a mountain of debt, he’s lost his job and his wife just up and left him. No point in waiting—Kim jumps. And then awakes, finding himself on a disused island in the middle of Seoul. His phone doesn’t work, the passengers of the passing taxi-boats don’t take his hapless situation seriously and the only way back to the inhabited city is a stinky swim in the polluted river—and Kim doesn’t know how to swim. Now a prisoner of the surreal locale, surrounded by semi-feral flora and smattering of trash in the shadows of the countless surrounding apartment towers, Kim must learn to survive without any of the commodities the city always offered him. Meanwhile, he is not without observers. Closed away in her room, a young woman (Jung Rye-won) is what’s called a “hikikomori,” one whose intense social anxiety drives her to live through a fabricated online identity. Fascinated by this strange figure stranded on an island in the heart of the city, she strives to communicate with him…

After co-directing LIKE A VIRGIN and co-writing several screenplays, including that for Ryoo Seung-wan’s ARAHAN, Lee Hae-jun has decided to step out on his own, and the result is amazing! CASTAWAY ON THE MOON strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama, between crowd-pleasing pop moviemaking and nuanced, poetic auteur cinema. He examines Korean society and the urban alienation that knows no national borders, maintaining a humorous yet deeply empathic tone. Lee also employs the city’s landscape, in particular Building 63, on which one can read “love your life, love your dreams,” and makes Seoul itself a character in his tale. The deftness of Lee’s writing is astounding, delivering any number of tour-de-force scenes, and he certainly chooses the talent he works with well. Beyond the brilliant direction of photog-raphy and a musical score that complements the film perfectly, his actors help add credibility to the film’s strange premise and to make its outsider characters thoroughly likeable. Jung Jae-young shows the same knack for comedy that made GOING BY THE BOOK a big hit at Fantasia 2008, but brings remarkable depth to his role. CASTAWAY ON THE MOON is an ironic social critique, witty and touching, that gives one a fresh appetite for life—and for a delicious bowl of black bean noodles too, please!

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)

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