Netflix reveals IU’s four Personas in short-film anthology
Ever since this project was announced last year, I’ve been intrigued to see how it would turn out, and I’m looking forward to watching it once it’s released in the next two weeks. Netflix has released a teaser for its upcoming project Persona, a four-part short film anthology that all star IU (My Ajusshi). Each of the four short films are directed by a critically acclaimed director and their films reflect a “persona” of IU that the directors chose to highlight.
The first of these short films is Love Set, which also features Kim Tae-hoon (Lookout) and Bae Doo-na (Kingdom) playing IU’s father and future step-mother, respectively. Love Set is directed by Lee Kyung-mi, whose credits include Crush and Blush and The Truth Beneath, and will center around a tennis court fraught with tension between a daughter and her potential step-mother. Bae Doo-na sets up the conflict immediately, who throws down some heavy stakes on a tennis game: “If I win, then you end things with your father.” IU isn’t some Cinderella though, and while playfully tackling her father on the court, whispers in his ear, “Don’t marry that woman, dad.”
The second short film is called Collector, and if Love Set portrayed a precocious IU, her more mature side is shown in this installment. We see her practicing yoga in the middle of a dilapidated swimming pool, as a man (Park Hae-soo, Smart Prison Living) voices offscreen, “From the beginning, you were special and had a lot of secrets.” A realistic, if disturbingly blank and doll-like, painting of IU appears on the screen and she muses, “When I let the waves take control of my body, I felt like I became a piece of sugar. I want to become freer and everlasting.” The mood of the short film is distinctly more eerie and unsettling, which isn’t surprising coming from director Im Pil-sung, who directed horror/thrillers Antarctic Journal, Hansel and Gretel, and Scarlet Innocence.
The third installment brings us IU as the heroine of a coming-of-age story titled Kiss Burn. Detecting something wrong with her friend, she goes to her friend’s “rescue” only to find her covered in hickeys, much to IU’s initial confusion. Kiss Burn is directed by newbie Jeon Go-woon, who, despite her relative newness to the industry, has a host of awards to her name from her 2018 feature film directorial debut Microhabitat. In the short film, the two friends hatch a plan for petty revenge, in between hilarious moments of teenage awkwardness: IU blustering that she “totally knows” what hickeys are is adorably endearing.
The last of the four-part anthology shows a bittersweet portrayal of former lovers coming to terms with their separation. This short film, shot in black and white, is titled Walking At Night, and is directed by Kim Jong-kwan, known for his female-centered films The Table and Worst Woman. As a couple meanders down a softly-lit street, IU dreamily reflects offscreen that “neither dreams nor death have a set destination.” The former lovers gaze at each other and share a kiss as she continues, “Without a place to go, we’ll be forgotten. Even though we’re right here, no one remembers.”
I’m not a particular fan of anthologies, but this is one project that I’m quite eager to watch, and thankfully, we don’t have too long to wait. Netflix will release Persona globally on April 5.