Don’t you just love it when YouTube recommends a nice short-film to watch when you are browsing your home page? Well, today morning a Korean film called “A First Love Story” by a studio called Strongberry came up on my recommendations. It’s about two best-friends realizing their relationship might be more than just platonic, when one of them announces he is going to join the army soon.
Korean male citizens have to perform compulsory military service for about two years before they turn 28. This 2021 short film explores the emotions of two close friends, who will no longer get to see each other every day, because one of them has decided to take up the call of duty to the nation. Jaeseong casually announces his decision to Mingyu while reading a comic.
“How can you say such a thing without a notice?” Mingyu asks. He is completely surprised.
“Everybody is going, it’s nothing special” Jaeseong shrugs.
But in less than a few minutes, the makers encapsulate the maturing of a relationship, triggered by an inevitable possibility of a separation. The setting is warm and cosy – in Mingyu’s bedroom, with photos, drawings and medals, symbolic of an easy intimacy between the protagonists. The second-half of the story unfolds on a neighboring street, as if foreshadowing their farewell. But first, there’s love to be found.
Actors Kim Hyeongwon & Jung Jaewoon play the leads, their camaraderie is fun to watch, like two childhood friends having their usual banter. Given the short run-time, it’s great that the makers don’t try to stuff any other characters into the plot, keeping it simple, without any distractions.
The climax is sweet, ending on an open but positive note, with room enough for the makers to do a follow-up film. I’ll leave you with the trailer. Watch the film if you are up for a sunny LGBTQ+ short movie.