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Kim Jo Gwang-soo’s second queer film Friends


Lee Je-hoon, Seo Ji-hoo

Director Kim Jo Gwang-soo added an entry to the small-but-growing category of Korean queer cinema with his short film Boy Meets Boy, starring rising pretty-boy actor Kim Hye-sung. He is following that with his second film, Friends? [친구사이?], which isn’t quite feature-length but clocks in as a mid-length film at 50 minutes.

Friends?, like Boy Meets Boy, is based on the director’s own experiences; while Boy depicted two high schoolers meeting in a first-love experience, Friends? is a little more mature and the characters a bit older. It also ups the skinship quotient. (Boy‘s allure was in its lingering looks and silences, while these still shots from Friends? depict the two young actors kissing, and there is reportedly also a bed scene.)

For being such a short film, Boy Meets Boy garnered a fair amount of attention, partly because it was a sweet narrative with nice directing, and partly, I believe, in symbolic support as a queer film. (Personally, I think it was a cute film — yes, singing Cupid notwithstanding — although I found myself wishing it were longer. As it was, it felt like a beautifully shot, atmospheric music video.)

Boy‘s success means that Friends? was able to command more of a budget and shooting schedule than its predecessor (which was shot over a weekend). It recently wrapped filming and now enters post-production.

Director Kim Jo Gwang-soo said that the bed scene contains a very important spoiler, so he kept the set closed to much of the staff while filming. The two actors, Lee Je-hoon and Seo Ji-hoo, also expressed their opinions on shooting the scene in an interview with Movieweek:

Lee Je-hoon: “After it was over, I felt a lot lighter. [Laughs] We shot a lot of takes, and each time I would pour my energy into it, so it was a little difficult to recover to shoot the next scene. To be honest, I had been very anxious about it, but the director and Ji-hoo helped a lot, so it wasn’t as difficult as I expected.”

Seo Ji-hoo: “I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep the night before. The night before the shoot, I talked a lot with Je-hoon. That helped a lot in trying to get the right emotions.”

Movieweek: Because it’s a queer film, did you hesitate over deciding to appear in it?

Lee Je-hoon: “When the director offered me the part, I watched Boy Meets Boy. After seeing that film, I developed faith in the director. If I hadn’t had that faith, I wouldn’t have chosen this film. I went into it trusting the director fully.”

Kim Jo Gwang-soo (lightly hitting Lee Je-hoon’s shoulder): “Be honest!”

Seo Ji-hoo: “I also watched Boy Meets Boy and thought, ‘If it’s a bright queer movie like this, I want to do it.’ However, since it was my first time acting, I did worry a lot. But it helped a lot to talk things over with the director and Je-hoon. Now I have the confidence that I can do it as well as anyone! [Laughs]”

Kim Jo Gwang-soo (while ruffling Seo Ji-hoo’s hair): “Really? I’m really thankful to these two actors. I also received a lot of help from my actors. This was Ji-hoo’s first acting job and Je-hoon doesn’t have a lot of acting experience, but they worked so hard and did such a good job, that the film was shot well. [Laughs]”

Via Movieweek

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Interesting, I just found out about Boy Meets Boy yesterday actually. This really is a coincidence. I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it or not.. But now I think I might. And if I like it, maybe I'll watch Friends?

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boys kissing! kyehehehehe.

lol i feel like such a byunt.

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ahh i really want to see this

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btw, anyone know where i can watch this? and boy meets boy?

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was it really necessary to put so many pictures of guys kissing? I dont think those types of pictures should appear on this site. it will turn off many readers.

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I can't wait for this!

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To irrational:
I actually assumed the opposite, since most of the readers seem to be quite openminded. Besides, it's not gay porn or something, the pictures are quite sweet. (And it's just 1 picture if you don't click on the article...)

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Most of the time, if people see girls and girls kissing, they find very ..ugggh.. how to put it nicely .. "entertaining" or not a big deal. But, if boys and boys kissing, .. so gross! :-).
In addition, it doesn't matter to me..

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@ 5 irrashional: If two kissing get on our nerves, don't come, your are the only one to find this "not necessary".

Anyway... I liked Boy Meets Boy and I'm happy the movie had great reviews, I will wait for this one impatiently.

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oh my god! this is so exciting! I love queer films. :) hehe

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@ irrashional

...What exactly is the issue you have? The pictures are really sweet. Are you saying that javabeans should censor the site to conform to your biased view?

Woooo! Go queer Korean films! This looks like a sweet coupling.

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@ irrashional -- if it keeps homophobics away, great!

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Thanks Java-B!

The actors on both films are cute, hehe!....newbies i guess huh.....

my korean guy friend (who- thinks- he's- one- of -the- cutest- korean guys...urg!) commented, when he looked over my shoulders to read what i was reading,
" Nah! people are cool nowadays........ just dont let your or my grandparents see that" *lol while munching on...whatever he is munching*.....then adds...," well, seems like I am your last hope.... cute korean guys are falling for each other now" ^-^

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Cute! i watched Boy Meets Boy and i love it, yes i didn't like the singing cupid also lol but overall it was cute and an innocent romance movie^_^

i want to watch this too! i love your teaser pictures btw <3

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i think the pictures are cute/innocent. i thought the singing cupid in boy meets boy was freaky and find it odd that they had to cg the rolling film. the storyline though was sweet~

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The director Kim Jo Gwang-soo, is he gay? just curious...

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this one looks good! i'm definitely looking forward to it. does anyone know when it'll be released?

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Ignore irrashional (#5). I find the pictures quite sweet. As I am sure most open minded people would.

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i'm not comfortable watching this at all. so they're both are straight outside acting?...wow, kudos to them for acting this... ehhhhh

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Lol. Everyone's dishing out on #5 cus he/she said that :P but yeah, I don't think people have a problem with the pictures (:

@13: HAHA. Your friend is funny. But it would be pretty sad if all the Korean guys start to look within their own gender, where are we gonna look for future bf/husband now?? xD

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I agree with 'irrational' - something not quite right, with increasingly many such Korean movies. Young adults can be impressionable.

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I dont mean to be rude to #21 but being "impressionable" has nothing to do with being gay. You either are or your not. And there is nothing "wrong" with it.

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i dont think its very polite to say that there's something wrong with this and that young adults might get influenced... its not exaclty a movie promoting addictions or substance abuse..

the boys are so cute looking though!

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@ irrashional

JB could not have given a better indicator as to the content of this piece, with that header. As stated by Yssa only a single picture and short outline, but as you used plural this shows your curiosity got the better of you then felt uncomfortable enough to complain.
Please censor your clicking finger as its actions are making you unhappy.

Cute interview with the two young actors.

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I watched Frozen Flower in its entirety so I guess I'll watch this. Plus, the stills are really cute. LOL.

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The pics are cute, this seems like an interesting film.

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@ irrashional #5
don't be narrow-minded.

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@2 (irrational) and 21 (21783). First of all, you didn't have to click on the header if gay people bother you. Second of all, what does "young people are impressionable" supposed to mean? That young people will decide to be gay because they saw a picture of 2 guys kissing? You either are or you aren't. Also, what's wrong with being gay? Do you think its some awful disease? I have one word to say. HOMOPHOBE

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Oh honestly, is it so hard to ignore ignorant comments? Seriously guys, you don't need to fight here.

And on an incredibly shallow note...ZOMGPRETTYASIANBOYSKISSING lol

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….lol…I couldn’t stop laughing…I don’t know why …yea they are cute and I think the movie isn’t that bad coz basically its reality, things like this happens in real life. They’re just making us be more aware in a mild and understandable manner and the best of course, making it into a movie. Actually I’m hoping that the actors playing could get something out of it an award perhaps?

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One of the guys remind me of Gong Yoo, and that's not too bad. :)

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this look kind of gay to me..is it rated?

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The picts make is really clear about the movie content. I think that's what JB does best. Thanks.

On another note... This kind of well-done (I hope) movie gives me an insight into the gay life/culture. And helps me be less unsettled around the increased exposure out in the world. I hope not the same as desensitizing the population.

OMG - I still talk to people's facial piercings until I don't see them anymore !!

Thanks again JB.

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It's jb's blog so she can post whatever she pleases. If you don't like it one click of the mouse takes you away!
The director is giving us a glimpse into his past. Everyone has a story to tell about how they first fell in love and first relationships. This is just one variation of a common tale.

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I've just seen Boy last week and it was sweet (minus the Cupid!). Looking forward to this movie too. Does anyone know other good Korean queer movies? I've seen No Regret (18+ so you know what kind of stuff they're showing...) and the storyline was very touching too~

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I'm not sure I will feel the same way (it's kind of cute) to see two unattractive and macho guys kissing on the street. -_-

oh well.

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these picture actually looks sweet and tender...it gives you this pure feeling of love between two people...and homosexuality has been going on for a long time now it's just that now it's getting more exposure and people are being more and more open about these kinds of things.

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can anyone explain to me what queer film is? i have never heard of that phrase be used until now. i'm not sure if it's supposed to mean gay or different from mainstream or something.

haha, and i noticed that the first and last picture are basically the same except the backpacks are switched =]

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"It’s jb’s blog so she can post whatever she pleases. If you don’t like it one click of the mouse takes you away!"

I never said she couldn't post whatever she wanted. However, the picture of two boys kissing is on the MAIN page, unavoidable and forced upon every visitor to the site. If it was a picture of two schoolGIRLS kissing. then people might think it was gratuitous and unnecessary, but because it's boys, some think it's "cute". I think it turns off readers to this site. that's all i'm saying.

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When it's two self-proclaimed straight boys kissing (i.e. Suju idol boys onstage), the response is usually quite cheerful. If the mere context that this is a queer film turns people off, what does that say about the reader? I don't think the problem lies with the images themselves.

" the picture of two boys kissing is on the MAIN page, unavoidable and forced upon every visitor to the site... I think it turns off readers to this site."

Thanks for your concern about my site, but I'll take my chances.

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I'm watching Signal and got interested with Lee Je-hoon. Discovered Just Friends by chance today and watched it - it's so good! Glad to see that Dramabeans had a post on it, and even happier to see your response to homophobes, Javabeans. (:

I think these photos are so cute. It's a really sweet short film, the kiss and bed scenes were done tastefully. I think Lee Je-hoon is so cute!!

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JB,

BIG BIG kudos to you for keeping us so well-informed on so many different genres of Korean films and dramas. I get so much great information (not to mention hours of happy entertainment) from your blog. I shudder to think at how many wonderful programs I might have missed out on if not for you. You are awesome!

I just love a good story. I don't care if it's boy/girl, girl/girl, or boy/boy. Love is love. If the script is good, the directing is sharp, and there's mad chemistry between the main characters, what else matters?

I thought Boy Meets Boy was gorgeous (weird singing Cupid, not sure what that was all about though, ;-) ). I"m looking forward to seeing this film as well.

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RE:
"If it was a picture of two schoolGIRLS kissing. then people might think it was gratuitous and unnecessary, but because it’s boys, some think it’s “cute”. I think it turns off readers to this site. that’s all i’m saying."

mmmm.....I and my circle of friends (that includes the self proclaimed cutest korean guy...urg! ^-^ his name: CKG) are considered conservative but we are open minded about things, especially with social issues.....

I SAID: two pretty guys kissing.... no big deal...but two guys who look really macho/manly, that'll make me think..."?????"
coz, first,am not YET used to seeing manly men kissing each other nor two beautiful women kissing each other, second, I work in a medical/science field, so questions pop in my mind... ^-^

HE SAID: two pretty guys kissing= "Nah!" Two manly guys kssing="what the...then LOL and goes on to whatever his doing..." Two pretty women kissing= "what...wow...continues on staring" *I then rolled my eyes, and threw him a pillow*

But we both agree, we dont judge people by merely what we "see"....it's the "character/content" that counts... and we do have mutual gay friends.... ^-^
I guess it depends on people's perception on things....
and, lastly, we are definitely going to watch this!

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Javabeans, although I am almost sure these pictures were not posted to make a statement but rather as part of your blog entry I still give you props for not caring what people (irrashional) might think of this and just posting them anyway.
I think its pretty sad that people have an issue with something like this, even more sad to know that there are sooo many people who are closed minded and think the world revolves around their beliefs and preferences

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Wow...Korea has really changed haven't they.

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it looks like one of the actor is a different one from the last post, "From Boy Meets Boy to Friends?" about this film. the other was Hong Jong-hyun so it looks like he's not in it any more.

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irrashional, you are deluded. a picture of two girls kissing would by far be more acceptable b y societal standards. hence why a song like "I kissed a girl" by katie perry hit #1 in america, but a song called "I kissed a boy" sung by a boy would never hit #1 in the current social climate

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I saw Boy Meets Boy at NewFest, the lgbt film festival in NYC, and thought it was quite wonderful and very moving. Good to see more queer film coming out of Korea.

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Seo Ji-hoo reminds me of gong yoo.

..dang. that's what i also commented on the other guy in triple. don't know the actor's name though but his character's name is Ji Poong-ho, & he had a gong yoo-ish expression in this pic:
http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm96/javabeans122/drama/2009/triple/triple3-192.jpg

...or that's just me & i must be missing gong yoo coz i see him in these actors faces :p

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@irrashional

I'd be quite happy if it were a movie about two women in love, and if there were a picture of two girls kissing, I'd think it was sweet. I don't think there would be anything gratuitous or "unnecessary" about it. Oh no, but maybe my opinion doesn't matter because I'm actually a lesbian and not one of the raging homophobes lurking on the internet.

@ langdon813

"I just love a good story. I don’t care if it’s boy/girl, girl/girl, or boy/boy. Love is love. If the script is good, the directing is sharp, and there’s mad chemistry between the main characters, what else matters?"

Amen.

@ javabeans

Keep it up. You're amazing.

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Hehe, I just thought that kiss looks awkward. I guess it's that I've never seen a good Korean movie/drama kiss before. Boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl, none whatsoever. I don't expect it to be steamy, but maybe at least act like they enjoy it and not repulse by it.

The second picture on the bottom looks sweet though.

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