London Korean Film Festival Preview: A Tiger in Winter

A Tiger in Winter
A Tiger in Winter
Directed by Lee Kwang-kuk
Starring Ko Hyun-jung, Lee Jin-uk and Ryu Hyun-kyung
Teaser screening for LKFF

by Gemsy

A barren and cold midwinter day sees a pair of unfortunate former lovers – one finding himself at the bottom of the barrel and the other endeavouring daily to find the bottom of a bottle – reunited in a chance meeting that could change the course of their lives. Or… Not.

Gyeong-yu (Lee Jin-uk), a would-be author who has constantly failed to keep down a job, is finally abandoned by his girlfriend – a fact only made clear on the fateful day when he returns to their flat to find her moved out and inaccessible by any means – and by extension is without a place to live. In searching for money to make some sort of ends meet – be they for sustenance or soju – he takes on a job as the designated driver for drunks. His pickup on the night that a tiger escapes from the local zoo is a former lover from years before, Yoo-jung (Ko Hyun-Joung). She finds herself in equally miserable but contrasting circumstances, unable to find the words to follow up her award-winning first novel and downing alcohol to drown out the sound of the responsibilities and pressing deadlines.

Our damaged and fragile but redeemably sweet bumbling idiots of protagonists take us on a poignant, painfully relatable but often hilarious journey to discover what it means to take – or avoid – responsibility for the consequences of your own actions and the direction of your life. Brilliantly understated performances from Hyun-Joung and Lee Jin-uk, coupled with a witty discourse, carefully create a beautiful, melancholic but ultimately hopeful world in which the plot can take place.

Whimsical, wonderful and one-of-a-kind, A Tiger in Winter is another feather in the cap of director Lee Kwang-kuk and not to be missed.


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