Yang Ik June
2009 7th Festival of Korea Cinema in Italy, E PREMAZIONE
2009, 23rd Fribourg International Film Festival, Prix E-changer
2009 11th Deauville Asian Film Festival, Lotus du Meilleur Film
2009 38th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tiger Award
2005 31st Seoul Independent Film Festival, Audience Prize
2005 4th Mise-en-scene's genres film festival, Performer Prize
If you are interested in fim, then you may have heard of the name Yang Ik June at least once. He is now famous as a movie director but his career with movie was started with an actor first. He appeared in many independent movies such as 'Slowly' (2005), 'Screwdriver' (2006) and he also appeared in commercial film such as 'Les Formidables' (2006), 'Maundy Thursday' (2006). In year 2006, he made his debut as a director with movie 'The Wind Stirs' (2006) and he won the prize in Seoul Independent Film Festival so he became famous as an director too. After that he continuously made several short films. Finally in this year, his first long film 'breathless' (2008) will open a seal in April which already won many prizes in world film festival. The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met Yang Ik June (YANG) and heard how to breathe with his film life and his films.
SMT: How did you become an actor or director?
YANG: Most children who likes to watch televisions want to be an actor and so did I. I think there was no special event happen to decided to be an actor but my desire in childhood didn’t die out so it was the start my career as an actor. To tell the truth I didn’t have any dream or any person I regarded. But now, the person I have the highest regard is Hou Hsiao-Hsien, an award-winning film director and a leading figure of Taiwan's New Wave cinema movement. He was the one who mede me to decide to make a movie as a director. In 2005, at Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), he told in master class that do not carve the letters on flowing water but on the rock which means he wanted to encourage people who are interested in making movie, then make it now. Before that I was just an actor and I simply have thought of making movie but I didn’t make it action. Actually I even didn’t take part in the master class but I just saw article of his words from magazine and I’ve got a great inspiration. At that time it was a great shock to me and then I wrote down that on the paper and put up it on the wall, read every day. Finally my first short film <The Wind Stirs> was created.
SMT: You told your movie’s title <Breathless>, in Korean, ‘Ttongpari’, which refers to needless dirty and indecent people. Why do you concentrate on them and how do you think about them?
YANG: In my opinion, like many people, I’m ttongpari too. Actually ttongpari doesn’t refer to people only lack adaptability to the society, wearing dirty clothes like the hero of these film, people who are in terrible economic situation, doing useless jobs or doesn’t have job, living tough but it also refers to the people who have his or her own hurt in mind, pitiful and numerous lonely people just like us. I even think many mother in Korean society are ttongpari too. They live a life for their children, limited to do what they want when their children grow they take care of their grandchildren.
And I found this problem, too many ttongpari in our society, causes from our society system that continuously produce people like them. They are shunned by all, the system need to be changed to accept those people into our society, not banish them.
SMT: Is there any special reason that you related violence with family?
YANG: Our society itself is violence, and family the minimal unit that consist society is just resembles it. No more than seven and eight years, violence has been existed in the surface of our society like frequent fisticuffs on the road but because of restraint policy of government it seems that violence are disappeared but still there are large number of event going on in invisible world. All the thing that government has done is just hide it. Actually I think the situation is worse than past time. Immanent violent are wide spread especially in family such as ruling people with arrogate power to oneself by violent act are common.
We know even though we are not talking about it but everybody has fear of to do it. So I wanted to reveal it to public through my film <Breathless>. This is a big important function of film. I can say my opinion through it even its hard to say in real world, face to face to public and make them to think and consider it. I was also afraid to disgrace ourselves in public but now after finishing this work, I think I did it right. We sometimes need person who courageously reveal it to public. So, this film was produced because I was a movie director but if I had other jobs than I would have used other means to do it. What I want to say through this movie is that I want to make people at least consider our situation, show hope for our future, there would be less violence in our next generation and more happy people than now, I also try to be happy.
SMT: What would you like to say as a senior of life?
YANG: I’m already in middle of thirties, and want to say to you guys that doing what you want not as obligatory but with passion. You’ll also get many painful experiences but don’t avoid these things. It would make you much stronger when you became older.
Plus, I guess everybody has problem with their own problem with each family although age, degree of seriousness, quality of problem are different. The causes of the problem are historical and social ones but we have to solve it by ourselves. Do not expel ttongpari around you. Try to have as sight for them and make better world to live together.