Young-Ja on the Loose (Korean Film)

Young-Ja on the Loose is an enthralling Korean film about the hardships the main woman character faced on her way to happiness. Coming from the Vietnamese War, Chang-Su, a nice scrubber, suddenly meets a tender girl besides the station house. Later on, working as a laboring man at the casting hangar, he runs across Young-Ja at his chief’s apartments where she performs duties of a parlor maid.

Chang-Su is stuck on her and offers his hand to the girl before departing to Vietnam again; however, being exploited, raped, and left without a hand, Young-Sa marries a man who has disability and gives a birth to a child. The paper explores the depiction of the major hero’s personal “quest” for happiness in the movie; the visual and oral elements of The Heydays of the Young-Ja like style, tone, and narrative composition contribute to the overall quest for happiness of the protagonist.

The journey of the main character begins as a failure. Then, the fortune meets her when the fallen in love man proposes to Young-Ja. It seems as if luck finds her, but there is more in this than the eye sees. Three years of this piteous journey passed only to show that Chang-Su is relatively happily married. The visual and aural elements of the movie signal the turning point of the heroes’ journey. The camera changes its angles and shots before the important event. Most outdoor scenes are so impressing that a spectator even does not know what to wait for.

The performance of Yeom Bok-sun (Young-Ja) is miraculous as she successfully expresses different tints of emotions – from shiniest to vulgar ones. It is hard to realize at first that a fawn-like creature and a hooker in the movie are played by one person. Some sad or frightening tunes forebode the coming of the tragedy such as assault or an accident, and melancholic melodies accompany amorous encounters. However, the film has mono sounding with some hissing and cracks. The Heydays of the Young-Ja was filmed in 1975, the time when the Korean cinematography was not well-developed; thus, it is no wonder that dubbing is not good. However, maybe all that mono-voiced work only makes the “torturous” quest for happiness look even more challenging.

Film structure and narrative composition as well as tone of the movie discover the drama in the heroes’ lives and the quest. The narration does not always use the chronological order of portraying the events, as some flashbacks and thoughts break the plot structure. First, Young-Ja on the Loose begins with the flashback of Chang-Su’s running across the protagonist after the raid on the prostitutes; however, then the story is narrated from the very beginning.

The shots are visually composed in a way to focus on the specific emotions or things to draw attention. The tone of the movie is tragic and incomprehensibly dramatic as Young-Ja’s quest. Young-Ja on the Loose is 1975 Korean movie about the hardships of a woman. She changes jobs in a desperate attempt to have a wealthy life, but fails. The son of her master makes a sexual assault to her, and then she stays without an arm after one accident. The woman’s trip ends with her getting married with a man who is also disabled. Therefore, Young-Ja’s quest for happiness is resolved, and a diversity of visual and aural elements as well as film’s structure, tone, and narrative composition anticipate it.

 

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