Il Mare 시월애
Director: Lee Hyun-seung
Writer: Yeo Ji-na, Kim Eun-jung, Kim Mi-yeong, Won Tae-yeon
Starring: Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae
Running Time: 96 mins
Country: South Korea
Il Mare is the Italian translation for "The Sea" which is the name of a beautiful house which both protagonists live in but tragically they are separated by two years in time.
Eun-joo (Jun Ji-hyun) moves out of her house "Il Mare" on the lead up to Christmas in 1999. She leaves a Christmas card in her mailbox for the future owner, asking them to forward any of her mail to her new address in the city. Sung-hyun (Lee Jung-jae) is the original owner of "Il Mare", he moves into the house in 1997 and discovers the Christmas card in his mailbox from Eun-joo, it is signed with the date 1999, Believing it to be a joke, Sung-hyun writes her back telling her so and reminds her that it's actually 1997. The two eventually realise that they live in the same house but are separated by two years of time, after discovering that they can communicate through the mailbox, they start to bond through the letters they send each other.
Il Mare is a stunning film with exceptional cinematography and stunning locations. The beach and the house sets are breathtaking and inspiring. It really makes you want to live in a location similar to this. The locations for the film were Ganghwa Island's Sukmodo and Jeju Island's Udo, I'm not sure if these are popular locations for movie-fans to visit, but if they aren't then they should be.
The beach setting and calm pacing, topped with a beautifully relaxing piano musical score give the film a tranquil feeling and peaceful vibe. The story and subplots also develop organically at a slower pace which allows viewers the time to piece together clues and absorb every little detail. That being said, the story involving two different timelines can be puzzling at times and a second watch really does the plot justice!
For fans of modern Korean dramas, there is plenty to keep you entertained and plenty of familiarities. The story has many dramatic moments and tears will be shed. Il Mare has similar beats, ideas, acting and pacing. It also has an engaging plot from beginning to end which will keep you emotionally invested.
In 2006 Hollywood attempted a remake of Il Mare titled The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. It really doesn't come close to the original, especially by simplifying the ending. Avoid it and seek out the far superior original!