by Regina Kim

Photo by Korean Cultural Service NY

On Tuesday, July 10th, about 250 people piled into two theatres at Tribeca Cinemas (54 Varick Street) to watch the free screening of director Ryu Hoon’s Secret Love (Korean title: Bimilae), presented jointly by the Korean Cultural Service and The New York Asian Film Festival.  The audience was treated with an appearance by the beautiful lead actress herself, Ms. Yoon Jin-Seo, who is only 28 years old but already a veteran of the Korean film industry, with roles in numerous Korean blockbusters including A Good Day to Have an Affair (2007), Beastie Boys (2007), All for Love (2005) and Oldboy (2003).

Ms. Yoon briefly introduced the film and stayed after the screening to do a Q&A as well as sign autographs for members of the audience.  The Q&A was led by Samuel Jamier, one of the organizers of The New York Asian Film Festival, and Ms. Yoon gave her responses through an interpreter.


About 250 people were in attendance for the screening of Secret Love
(Photo by Korean Cultural Service NY)

Sam Jamier:  Secret Love is an erotic, edgy melodrama.  How did you approach the film?

Yoon Jin-Seo:  My explanations may not be good enough, since this film was made 4 years ago, so I don’t remember much.  But when I was filming this, I was in a sensitive mood, and I remember thinking it was very intense.  I’ve never been married and had a husband, much less a husband who fell into a coma.  Personally, it took me a while to take the movie realistically—the thought that the person you love is lying in front of you as if he were dead.  Overall, it was definitely a good experience.

SJ:  In this movie, you play opposite actor Yoo Ji-Tae.  You also appeared in Oldboy alongside him, as the sister of his character, is that correct?

YJS:  Yes, that’s right, he played my younger brother.  Actually, I filmed the movie with the child character of Yoo Ji-Tae (played by Yoo Yeon-Seok), so Secret Love was really my first time working with Yoo Ji-Tae.  


Photo by Korean Cultural Service NY

SJ:  You’ve played a lot of interesting characters, such as the role of a mentally handicapped person in Iri.  What draws you to these characters in particular?  Do you have a preference for TV or for film?

YJS:  Personally, I don’t watch many films, and I didn’t grow up watching dramas (Korean TV series).  I don’t feel close to them.  I feel more comfortable with art house films.  Fortunately I got to work with a lot of good directors, and through them I’ve become known to a wider public audience.  But half of my films have been commercial films and the other half have been art house films.

SJ:  You’ve been living here in the U.S. for a couple months now.  Who are some American directors you’d like to work with?

YJS:  I love so many American directors, so I don’t know who to choose.  Hollywood is the hub for many famous actors and directors from all over the world, so there are many people I’d like to work with.  I have many favorite Hollywood directors, but I don’t know if they would know me, so I’m careful about mentioning who I’d like to work with.  I’m actually considering a Hollywood project right now.  But I can tell you that I’d like to work with a writer or director who has a great thematic message.  


Photo by Korean Cultural Service NY

SJ:  How do you feel now in the current state of the Korean film industry compared to when you first started?

YJS:  In Korea, the film industry tends to be stricter towards the younger, less experienced people—if you’re late on set, etc.  You’re more limited if you’re young.  Now, if I’m late, it’s not such a big deal anymore.  Now I feel that people have become more generous with my mistakes on set.  When I was young and starting out in this industry, I was very nervous, but now I feel more comfortable working with people and working in this field.  

SJ:  What are some of your future projects that you’re working on?

YJS:  My next film is called Woman Who Doesn’t Sing.  Also, since several years ago, traveling has become my hobby.  I’m preparing to publish a travel journal that I’ve kept. 

SJ:  Are you considering making NYC your home?

YJS:  I’m planning to return to Korea.  But NYC is a great place to visit.  NYC has a lot of good shows, and I’ve made a lot of friends here even though it’s been only 2 months.  I have more freedom here too—freedom to eat in parks, etc.—which I like.  But I’ll be going back to Korea.