Posted : 2013-03-12 19:13
Updated : 2013-03-12 19:13

Lee Won-suk's debut film touches on winning heart

Director Lee Won-suk

By Jung Min-ho

After talking to a slew of people who claimed to be dating experts, one film director finally discovered the secret of winning a man's heart — look him in the eyes with a smile, touch him gently and keep eye contact with him during a conversation.

"That is the simple truth I found out after years of trying to get the secrets for my debut movie, ‘How to Use Guys with Secret Tips,'" Director Lee Won-suk said in a recent interview with The Korea Times. "In fact, there is no secret. These ways actually work, but only if you put them into action beyond simply knowing them."

The movie, which has been playing in theaters since Feb. 14, is about a female would-be advertising director whose life changes with a series of instructional videos, titled "How to Use Guys with Secret Tips."

As she starts following the simple rules, the career of Choi Bo-na, played by Lee Si-young, starts riding high as her relationship with men improves after years of struggle as an undervalued assistant staff member. She also wins the heart of top star and her love, Lee Seung-jae, played by Oh Jung-se.

The 37-year-old director believes many so-called "life principles" indeed work to get what people want, to a certain extent. He nonetheless thinks following such rules is not the way to live since people lose their unique color in the process, asking "What is the point of living, if everyone is supposed to live in the same boring way?"

"I also wanted to talk about gender equality issues by highlighting the situation where Choi becomes a center of people's attention and, at the same time, a target to attack. That is a different case from that of Lee who only gets respect from people for what he accomplished, just because he is a man," Lee said.

Referring to a society where shrewd people are more likely to succeed than those who just work hard, Lee said he saw many such cases when he worked in a film production company in 1999.

"The movie was supposed to be a black comedy that criticizes such phenomena from a satirical viewpoint but, in the seven-year revision process, I compromised some parts as many people expressed their concerns that the film might fail commercially,"Lee said.

"Keeping the direction in making a movie as initially planned is the most challenging part of working as a director," he added.

After deviating from his original plan, the film is now categorized as a "romantic comedy." However, the director says the movie is more a "fantasy."

"In the end, she gets everything she wanted. But that does not happen in real life no matter how earnestly people live their lives," Lee said.

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