The Senior Class (" Jol-Up-Ban")
- South Korea
- 83 mins
- English (subtitles)
Hosted by Director Hong Deok-pyo
Graduation is just a few days away for a group of art students in their final year. The classmates are focused on their paintings and projects, though Jung-woo can’t help but be distracted by pretty, popular Ju-hee. Jung-woo, lacking the audacity of his assertive if somewhat dim best friend, Dong-hwa, is far too shy to approach the object of his affections. He instead channels his desires into a maudlin romantic comic strip, which he posts online under a pseudonym. A face-to-face encounter with Ju-hee in a compromising situation, however, brings them closer – but also introduces a risk factor to their relationship, and sets in motion circumstances that could change the trajectories of each of these young people’s lives.
A decidedly adult examination of becoming an adult, Hong Deok-pyo’s animated drama THE SENIOR CLASS is raw in its emotional honesty, brazen and often explicit in its exploration of sexuality among South Korean college kids. Executed in a rigorously realist style, with standards of execution way above the norm of the present wave of young-adult animation in South Korea, THE SENIOR CLASS is, perhaps unsurprisingly, written and co-produced by Yeon Sang-ho, the award-winning director of the Fantasia hits THE KING OF PIGS, SEOUL STATION, and TRAIN TO BUSAN. It’s the latest from Yeon’s Studio DADAshow, an outfit animation fans can expect good things from as the Korean industry muscles up and matures. Hong’s portrait of the passage into the grey areas of grown-up life is packed with hard knocks, strained ties and tough choices (and not always the right ones). Life, after all, isn’t a comic-strip fairy tale.
- Rupert Bottenberg