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Jeonju 2018 Review: Graduation (2018) - Korea

Andrew Chan Graduation Jeonju Film Festival Lee Tae-kyung

Jeonju 2018 Review: Graduation (2018)

Reviewed by Andrew Chan (FCCA)

One of the joys of the annual Jeonju Film Fest is the discovery of new directing and acting talents and with Graduation, a film about the difficulty of cracking the Korean film industry and the coming of age process in survival, growing up and pursuing your dreams. I enjoyed watching this film by the 23 year old director Hui Ji-ye, who’s vision and story is easily beyond her years and combining the effortless natural acting of first time lead Lee Tae-kyung, makes the film an easy viewing yet providing those tense and difficult moments to endure. Making movies is not easy and cracking the industry and surviving at the same time in commercialised Korea is all the more difficult. 

Lee Tae-kyung shows strong emotions when required and remains understated throughout. It’s a natural performance that easily reminds the audience of a much younger Doona Bae. Her internal struggle and how she simply tries her best to deal with the challenges that comes along her way is admirable and believable. The mother is also suitably memorable as is her best friend who decides a change of career as she loses sight of her own movie making dreams. 

All in all, Graduation shows both the dreams and realistic nature facing aspiring filmmakers and the hardship it takes in order to be given the opportunity to succeed. I must say that despite the indie nature, the film remains rather fresh, interesting and relevant. Now hopefully both Director Hui and actress Lee can capitalise on this and build onto something greater in coming years. 

I rated 8/10

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