Saturday, November 22, 2014

Castaway On The Moon

tags: castaway, dramedy, love story, survivor

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Synopsis from AsianWiki
Kim Seung-Keun stands on the ledge of an overpass bridge above the Han River. He’s in way over his head in debt and he’s ready to end his life right then and there. Mr. Kim then jumps off the bridge, but due to his own misfortune (or good fortune) he ends up washed ashore on a small nearby island. At first, Mr. Kim looks for every conceivable way to get off the island – which is in plain view of several nearby high rise buildings and apartment complexes. After a few days, Mr. Kim becomes acclimated to his solitary existence and he even starts to find comfort in his primitive surroundings.
Meanwhile, a young reclusive lady named Kim Jung-Yeon sits in her room, addicted to the online world of "Cyworld." She hasn’t left her apartment in three years and she doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon. In the evenings, when Jung-Yeon is finished updating her Cyworld home page, she dabbles in her other hobby which is photographing the moon. During one of those evenings, when Jung-Yeon is taking shots of the moon, she notices a "HELP" sign scrawled onto the sand of a nearby island. She then notices a strange man walking around the island and Jung-Yeon starts to view this man as her own personal alien.

Castaway On The Moon is one of my top favorite Korean movies of all time. I have seen it many many times while it was still streaming on Netflix. The movie is metaphorical and if you know or are familiar with Korea and its citizens, it's easier to understand its meaning. It is a mixture of drama with a bit of sometimes laugh-out-loud comedy, love story, and of all things, adventures in farming.

The male character tries to commit suicide but is unsuccessful and finds himself stranded on the small island in the middle of the Han River. He is very near yet so far from the city of Seoul. He tries to kill himself a second time by hanging himself with his tie but is interrupted by "call of nature". He decides suicide can wait and explores the island. He finds a discarded jjajangmyun (black soybean paste) noodle wrapper with its seasonings unused and intact. He is very hungry and the photo on the wrapper complete with carrots, green vegetables, and a boiled egg makes him even hungrier. He then with regret recalls the numerous times he refused to eat the noodles since he was a child. He vows to grow corn to make noodles from seeds dropped by birds. It's amazing that a simple noodle wrapper makes him forget his problems and the suicide attempts, and changes his overall outlook in life.

While these things are going on, he is being observed with a powerful camera by a girl from an apartment across the river. She lives with her parents but refuses to face them nor anyone else; they communicate by text messages. The girl is a hikikomori, a modern-day hermit similar to an agoraphobic.

In a sense both of them are castaways. The superb acting, directing, and script make these situations very very believable. I love this movie and cannot recommend it highly enough.

The movie is not available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon.


I am currently reading THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir and it reminds me of this movie. There are some similarities - castaway, farming (growing potatoes), the will to survive, being observed from afar...

I will rate the book in a few days.

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