Just as the colour of the sky gives us plenty of warning of what’s to come, the existing work of director Lee Yoon-ki provides us all with significant clues that something good is about to happen in Korean film. Indeed the director’s latest release, Come Rain, Come Shine follows a number of successful films, most notably the critically acclaimed This Charming Girl which attracted awards and recognitions like foil attracts magpies.
Come Rain, Come Shine is centred around the powerful theme of emotional denial. Hours away from an impending revelation, a husband and wife are still hiding their feelings away as they dance around the inevitable. If this was Hollywood, things would change following the wife’s confession that she is in love with someone else. As this is Korean cinema, coated with the fingerprints of a director renowned for low-key dialogue and setting, the result is quite different. When the wife casually mentions her infatuation with another, the husband responds with a mere shrug of indifference.
But then, true to familiar conventions of the west, the rain kicks in and the sense of tension is released by a flood of pathetic fallacy. With the heavens pouring down like the tear drops she was never able to cry, the wife contemplates the couple’s shared material possessions that developed alongside their relationship and remind her of the sunnier days.
Then as the rain turns into a hurricane, we are forced to contemplate a new intensity as emotions are illustrated in the poetic equivalent of a pink neon sign. The powerful natural world outside forces them to evaluate what they have constructed between their walls and, as nature shows its overwhelming force over human relations, the couple are also urged to explore their identities and the power of their own judgements.
Come Rain, Come Shine unites the mighty promises of wedding vows with the challenging reality of real life. Although undeniably clichéd in its delivery, the film provides a moving exploration of a convincing relationship within a chequered setting of insiders and outsiders, us and them and love and indifference.
As the English title provides its charged echo of the phrase ‘come rain or shine’, we are reminded that life’s ups and downs are inevitable. All that we need to do is take inspiration from the strength of this couple and the hurricane that surrounds them and remember to fight for what we truly want.
Come Rain, Come Shine will be released in Korea on the 3rd March 2011, whatever the weather.
first published on battleroyalewithcheese.com