Credit
Article. Oh Minji, Na Wonyoung (Music Critic), Im Sooyeon (CINE21 Reporter)
Design. Jeon Yurim

Halmyungsoo

Oh Minji: Infinite Challenge fan VERNON and the clueless THE 8,” the title of episode 105 of Halmyungsoo, is self-explanatory. We see diehard Infinite Challenge fan VERNON dressed like Park Myung-soo in the “Why are you interested in my clothes... LOOKBOOK of a man born in 1970” episode of Halmyungsoo and quoting him, while also taking a photo of Park with obvious excitement. Beside him, Infinite Challenge “muggle” THE 8 has given up trying to understand and instead helps VERNON take a good photo, putting a fashionable face chain on Park and tossing confetti from behind lifeless eyes. It’s an easily relatable scene for anyone who’s ever been either half of a duo where one is a big fan of anything and the other could care less. The secret weapon of the episode is how frank they are about their feelings: VERNON does nothing to hide his feelings for the celebrity he loves, and THE 8 proudly announces, “I thought you’d check so last night I subscribed,” apparently now a follower of Park’s channel. It makes me think that, in a time when honesty can be used as a positive tool or as a weapon of disrespect, honesty that doesn’t seek to undermine anyone—the speaker included—can be a force for good instead.

“Moment” (Cho Yong-pil)

Na Wonyoung (music critic): In an interesting coincidence, Choi Baek Ho recently released a song titled “Moment” that continues the style of his later years that he’s been working on since he put out Again, On the Road 10 years ago. The way he trembles as he sings lines like, “The moments that have passed already / My moments that will last forever,” overtop the grand string arrangement shows he has accepted the process of aging and the forward march of time. Another song with the same title came out only a few days later—one that celebrates the passing of time and travels back like a sailboat unanchored. Did I mention that Choi and Cho Yong-pil were both born in 1950? Though Cho established himself as a veritable hitmaker throughout his career and made quite a splash in the 1980s, he seems to have the ability to remain relevant regardless of the passage of time. His use of electric instruments and his digitized pop rock sound are a synthesis of styles throughout history worked into K-pop and have become a permanent institution that make for quality listening in both his studio albums and when he plays large venues. His 1992 eponymous album CHO YONG PIL is the closing punctuation mark on a 14-album release streak spanning just 13 years. The album sounded like a middle-aged man accepting time as a “Lonely Runner” that never stops moving. His new song “Moment” reaches beyond the 30 years since that album and into his work from 1984–85, “making this moment forever with a beautiful heart.” This glittering, decisive moment that he says he can “remember clearly” lasts as if immortal. And in that moment, Cho murmurs while looking at the past, recording himself in a separate time and space: “Glittering you, disorganized me / This is a fantastic flow.” But didn’t we already hear this illusion of eternity from his sleek, sly greeting in “Hello” almost a decade ago? When did time bend at that joint? “My head is buzzing.” It’s dizzying. “Now I’m dizzy, so dizzy.”

The Night Owl

Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter): Gyeongsu (Ryu Jun Yeol), a blind acupuncturist who enters the royal palace on the back of his reputation for delicate acupuncture and accurate diagnoses, has hemeralopia, meaning he can see in the dark. Tension builds as, ironically, the only effectively blind person in the palace, has witnessed the lethal poisoning of Crown Prince Sohyeon (Kim Sung Cheol) and has to live in silence as if he hasn’t seen a thing. The movie is handily carried by the interplay of the main character’s unusual sense of vision and the need to be blind to the truth. The politically weak King Injo (Yoo Hai Jin) and his tumultuous emotional state are perfectly depicted in this expertly crafted genre flick. Despite a predictable outcome due to being rooted in history, this thriller keeps audiences glued to their seats thanks to the many perfectly executed twists and turns. The movie takes the suspicions written in the Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty that the prince may have been drugged before returning from Qing China and builds out from there using the filmmakers’ imaginations.