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Actor-turned-director Jung Jin-young says directorial debut ‘Me and Me’ a sad comedy

Director Jung Jin-young (left) and actor Cho Jin-woong attend the “Me and Me” premiere event, in Seoul on Tuesday. (Acemaker Movie Works)
Director Jung Jin-young (left) and actor Cho Jin-woong attend the “Me and Me” premiere event, in Seoul on Tuesday. (Acemaker Movie Works)
It is not easy to truly see ourselves as we are seen in the eyes of others. The confusion stemming from the gap between the “me” I know and the “me” that others see may be overwhelming.

Jung Jin-young said his first film as a director, “Me and Me,” depicts such confusion experienced by a “delicate being.”

“The film can be considered a sad comedy about the loneliness of a delicate human being,” Jung said at the film’s premiere Tuesday in Seoul.

“The story started from asking, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why would my identity come in conflict with how others define me?’ I wrote the script naturally, wondering about how lonely people living in such confusion might feel.”

In the film, detective Hyeong-gu, played by veteran actor Cho Jin-woong, investigates a mysterious fire in which school teacher Su-hyuk (Bae Soo-bin) and his wife are found burned to death in their house. One day, Hyeong-gu wakes up to find himself inside the couple’s house, everything about him changed. He is no longer a detective, and his beloved wife and daughter seem to have never existed. The past he remembers as his life has disappeared into thin air.

“Although we said the film is a mystery, this might lead to some confusion. While mysteries usually provide an answer at the end, this film doesn’t. From the start, I didn’t intend to give an answer,” Jung said.

A scene from “Me and Me” (Acemaker Movie Works)
A scene from “Me and Me” (Acemaker Movie Works)

Wanting to break free from the typical cinematic narrative, he left the film hanging with an open ending, Jung explained.

“I wanted to make a film which I could lead naturally. I tried not to think about the cinematic grammar or rules. I wanted to make a film not thinking about other people’s judgements. I think the unfamiliarity is its strength,” he said.

The lead actor even professed to not having understood the story when he first read the script. “We took it step by step in making the film, and watching the movie I feel something flushed in deep inside my heart. We can’t really explain in words what art or love is, and I think this film holds such unexplainable power,” Cho said at the media event. “Don’t try to focus so hard, but follow the flow and you’ll naturally find parts to think about.”

Jung, whose extensive filmography includes acting roles in “The King and the Clown” (2005) and “Ode to My Father” (2014), expressed apprehension about his directorial debut.

“Although I finally realize how fearful it is to stand in front of the media and wait for the film’s release, I’m looking forward to hearing what people think about the film.”

“Me and Me” is set to open in cinemas on June 18.

By Choi Ji-won (