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O Youth! (1994, English Subtitles)

January 27, 2013

“O Youth!” is a rare attempt at comedy from the DPRK. More specifically, romantic comedy. The film is about a family with 6 siblings, five of which are young sportswomen. The sixth is a 30 year old man, who is consumed with his studies and has not yet married. His mother wants him to marry an effeminate girl, because sportswomen do not serve the nation properly. His father and sisters want him to marry a sportswoman. The son falls in love with a woman who initially appears to be an embroiderer, but is, in fact, a Tae-kwon-do instructor.

SPOILERS BELOW

The humor is mostly situational, with various amounts of confusion arising from different characters not knowing what is going on. The mother seems to be relied upon as the main source of humor, as she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants, and never lets anyone else get a word in edgewise. However, there are moments where the couple and the father provide humor as well.

Eventually, the son and Taekwondo instructor fall in love regardless of the other characters. The mother is not convinced until she sees the Tae-kwon-do instructor win a gold medal for the DPRK and espouse the greatness of the Socialist System and Kim Jong-Il to the BBC. Then, she realizes what athletes can do for the Fatherland, and accepts the advantages of getting married later in life.

Random Notes:
During a critical scene towards the end of the movie (1:08:02) the two characters talk about how the DPRK is great not because it invented Tae-kwon-do, but because they have such an incredible leader that re-kindled interest in Tae-kwon-do and guides them so well.
1:18:39- A Korean is rather hilariously dressed to look like a foreign tourist, to the left of the mother.
Also, this movie brings attention to the fact that in the DPRK, you don’t get your own apartment until you are married.

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