The First Lap
Director: Kim Dae-hwan
Cast: Cho Hyun-chul, Kim Saebyuk
Film genre: Drama
Cert 12A, 101 mins, 2021
Distributed by M-Line Distribution
Best Emerging Director
Locarno International Film Festival
Kim Dae-hwan’s film explores generational conflict within a contemporary love story in thrilling forensic detail. Twenty-somethings Su-hyeon (Cho Hyun-chul) and Ji-young (Kim Saebyuk) live together in financial and emotional insecurity. They seem somehow stuck in life. When Ji-young tells Su-hyeon that she may be pregnant, pressure mounts on them either to commit or to split up.
The couple embark on a pair of road trips to their respective parents’ homes. Ji-young’s middle-class parents are frustrated by their only daughter’s seeming inability to follow a conventional family life. Su-hyeon’s barely existent relationship with his alcoholic father and embittered mother is even more strained. Their parents live in opposition to each other, love at best a distant memory. Is this the future facing Sy-hyeon and Ji-young?
Framed against the recent President Park impeachment protests, Kim’s film asks a whole new generation to question the present and embrace change. Have Sy-hyeon and Ji-young got the strength and love to find a third way together?