Night Flight

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Jun 11-Aug 11

The struggle is always real in openly gay director Leesong Hee-il’s portrayal of homosexual men living in sexually uptight South Korea. Leesong doesn’t shy away from provocative and polarising topics, but instead, triumphantly tackles them head on with a conscientious narrative and a visually arresting lens.

His latest feature film, Night Flight (which premiered at last year's Berlin Film Festival) is probably his most ambitious project to date and focuses on a highly competitive Korean education system that turns a blind eye to bullying, entitlement and homophobia. The core of the story, however, follows a struggling friendship and love between two classmates – Shin Yong-ju (Kwak Si-Yang) and Han Gi-Woong (Lee Jae-joon) – who must overcome the unspoken chaotic confines of school to survive. The progression of their relationship is touching, and at times a heartbreaking unravelling which Leesong captures with a sense of fleeting tenderness.

Shin is a sweet boy and a high academic achiever well in tune with his feelings and sexuality. He comes from a single parent household and has a loving and accepting mother. Han, on the other hand, is filled with anger stemming from middle school bullying and abandonment issues relating to his father. Now in his senior year of high school he’s become the ultimate school bully – smacking classmates around with an apple that he wraps in a towel. His sexuality remains a mystery, but Shin is willing to take big risks to find out what it is. You see, Shin has been in love with Han ever since they were young and cherishes their past friendship, even though they’ve grown far apart in recent years.

The boys begin to reconnect and just when everything seems like a steady progression into a blossoming relationship things turn ugly and violent once Shin is betrayed and his sexuality exposed. In Leesong fashion, the intensity of the drama goes from zero to 60 in an instant and you are confronted with very real fears that LGBTI people must face.

Night Flight is an engaging piece of work that hits on a spectrum of coming-of-age issues with delicacy and finesse. Though, there are aspects that might hit home harder for the LGBTI community, it’s a film that will do more than just tug on your heart strings. It will shred them to pieces and then try to mend them back together. Arthur Tam

Night Flight Opens Jun Thu 11


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