"Green Chair" is a little gem of a film.
Mun-he (Suh Jung) is 32 years old and has an affair with Suh Hyun (Shim Ji-ho), who is only 19. The catch being that in Korea you are a minor in respect to sex until you are 20. So Mun-he is convicted of statutory rape even though the boy was more than willing. She is convicted to 100 hours of community service.
The film was inspired by a true story and could have been filmed in a lot of boring ways, but luckily director Park Chul-soo did not chose to do so. This is a very upbeat and happy film. I found myself laughing out loud several times, and leaving the theatre with a big grin on my face and my heart beating joyously.
After being sentenced Mun-he leaves the court to find Suh Hyun waiting outside along with the inevitable gaggle of journalists. He drives her away, and they go to a motel, where they stay for several days and nights having glorious sex. He does not want to leave her, claiming that it is not just the sex, but that he loves her. He moves in with her in the house she is sharing with a girl friend. They all become friends, they have a big dinner with his parents, her ex-husband and various others attending all discussing the merits of this love affair.
The mood of the film is very joyful and whimsical. The boy may be a little too mature for his age, but the woman has no illusions about this lasting forever but she wants to enjoy it, while she can. Of course you should protect minors from being sexually used and abused by adults, but 20 years as the age of consent seems a bit much.
Director Park Chul-soo: I wanted to enjoy sex, watch people having sex, and at last wanted to film people having sex. I am sorry, but at the same time, thankful for the two actors who understood my desire fully.
Instead of making a boring film about protecting young people, director Park has given us a warm romantic film with lots of hot sex, that never seems out of place or gratuitous, but gives off a warm happy buzz. And this treatment makes his comment on the laws in question much more effectual.
"Green Chair" was the last film I saw at the Berlinale, and I could not have wished for a better end to this festival.