From Boy Meets Boy to Friends?
Seo Ji-hoo, Hong Jong-hyun
Director Kim Jo Gwang-soo garnered some attention with last year’s queer short film Boy Meets Boy, and now he’s coming out with his follow-up. Called 친구사이?, the title translates to “We’re Friends?” or simply “Friends?”
Friends?, like Boy Meets Boy, also deals with queer romance, and this time, the director has cast two unknown actors, 19-year-old Hong Jong-hyun and 25-year-old Seo Ji-hoo. Hong started as a model and was also in Jo In-sung’s Frozen Flower, while Seo earned his role through auditions.
As with Boy Meets Boy, the events of this film are based on the director’s personal experience; the film aims for a “realistic, frank” depiction of young gay love.
Although Boy Meets Boy was a mere 35-minute short, it had a decent amount of buzz. Maybe it was the pretty young actors Kim Hye-sung (Unstoppable High Kick) and Lee Hyun-jin (Family Honor), maybe it was the material (two high school boys falling in love for the first time), maybe it was the fact that the film was nearly dialogue-free. Maybe it was the zeitgeist. In any case, it got people talking and even had a theatrical run.
This film is described as “lively and bold,” with stronger (romantic) scenes between the actors than in Boy — but that doesn’t mean they’ll be steamy or graphic; rather, this film features older characters (twentysomethings, versus Boy‘s teenagers) and a longer running time. The plot is described as the “unexpected events that occur when Seok (Hong) goes to visit Min-su (Seo), who’s serving his military duty.”
I’m all for bromancey fun and comic takes on homoeroticism (e.g., Coffee Prince, Antique Bakery), but it’s also nice to see the emergence of queer cinema in the mainstream that is (or seems to be, at least) handled with some deftness and thoughtfulness.
The mid-length (50 minute) film will begin shooting mid-March, and aims for a theatrical release sometime in the latter half of the year.