DISCOVER: A MUSE ACTRESS KIM GO

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Kim Go-Eun discussesEungyo (A Muse)during a new york Film Festival Q&A. Photo: Misun Jin

An older woman pursuing a younger man has been an en vogue big (and little) screen plot for what seems like ages. The so-called cougar phenomenon indulges May-December fantasies without risking the discomfort that the opposite configuration can elicit. But South Korean director Jung Ji-woo does just that in his award-winning, và controversial, Eungyo (A Muse), which had its new york Premiere at the new york Asian Film Festival over the weekend.

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Based on the novel Eun-gyo by Park Bum-shin, the film, which polarized audiences at home, revolves around an aging poet laureate (played by Park Hae-il) & his protégé who become romantically tangled with a beautiful 17 year-old high schooler, deftly played by newcomer Kim Go-Eun who won the break-out role over scores of veteran actresses.

“It was very black và white with audiences in South Korea,” said Kim at the Walter Reade Theater Sunday. “Some people really liked it và others didn't. It divided people. For those who supported the movie, they were able khổng lồ understand the directors point of view and the point he wanted lớn make. For those who didn't lượt thích it, they only saw the surface, I think. You have to lớn dig below to fully understand the story. People against it were only interested in the scandalous or salacious parts of the movie & didn't go beyond that.”

Loneliness và youthful exuberance are two constants throughout the film. Seventy-something Lee Jeok-yo is a hailed poet/writer. After arriving trang chủ with his thirty-ish assistant, Seo Ji-woo (Kim Mu-yeol), he discovers young Eun-gyo (Kim) on a deck chair in his yard. Her beauty và youth immediately charm the poet, who ignores the fact that she trespassed on his property. After chatting, he offers her a part-time job working at his home.

Her presence and attention quickly awakens a lust for life & a reconnection to his youth. Lee becomes increasingly attached to lớn the girl, who is only too ready khổng lồ lavish him with affection. On the side, he embarks on writing a short story about an imagined sexual relationship with her. His protégé, however, becomes increasingly jealous and voices his disdain for what he says is an inappropriate relationship. After discovering the short story, his emotions reach a boiling point & he decides lớn take the short story & publish it under his own name.

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Kim Go-Eun in Jung Ji-woo's Eungyo (A Muse)

“In the beginning it was the the youth that Eun-gyo possessed that made Mr Lee attracted to her,” said Kim. “When he began to love her, they were able lớn . He was able to see the sadness in her and she was able to lớn give back khổng lồ him emotionally.”

Kim studied drama at the Korea National University of Arts & had never appeared in a film or television series. After a chance meeting with the director, she ended up auditioning for the role of Eun-gyo, which was clearly a sought after part with scores of actresses vying for the part.

“I didn't think about it a lot,” said Kim. “I didn't go in there thinking I have lớn get this role. I had some lines that I memorized but I also lượt thích to sing. So, I went in và played guitar and sang during the audition.”

Korean-born, Kim spent a decade in China, which she says gave her an opportunity to lớn experience different perspectives, which has informed her approach. “My time in trung quốc has allowed me khổng lồ see things outside of the box and that has helped my approach to lớn many things that I do,” she said.

The fledgling star is currently working on a new film called Master, in which she plays a person with disabilities, but manages to fight. She said the role has a “significant psychological aspect to lớn it.” She will start another new project in September. Kim is clearly on a roll, having received a number of accolades including eight Best New Actress prizes by prestigious organizations back home including the Korean Association of Film Critics & the Buil Film Awards, whereA Muse also won Best Film.

Looking ahead, Kim says she wants khổng lồ explore different genres,and is even interested in doing foreign films: “I want to vì chưng everything. I want lớn try all kinds of roles in both Korea & abroad.” But for now, she is continuing to lớn receive notice for A Muse. “I was just curious about what kind of an actress would play the part of Eun-gyo. I had no idea I would play her.”