- NEWS & REPORTS
Two Korean Movies Based on Real Stories
- Writerby Lee Sohee
The Polar Opposite Locations
Director Lee Janghoon's film Miracle is based on the true story of ‘Yangwon Station’ in Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do, known as the smallest train station and the first private capital station in Korea. The place is the main character itself and the driving force behind the movie. Let's listen to the story of the small village residents who stacked bricks one by one to create the train station until a small miracle happened and the story of the location.
The area of Yangwon Station, the background of the movie, is a remote village deep in a valley surrounded by sheer cliffs. With the opening of the Yeongam Line in 1955, the railroad passed through the village, but there was no train station. Therefore, the villagers had to walk approximately 3.7km along the railroad to Seungbu Station to get on the train. It was the fastest and only way to the town. It was in April 1988 that Yangwon Station was established. The villagers personally picked stones with pickaxes and stacked bricks to create a whistle-stop of about 12 square yards. It is the story of the birth of the first private capital station in Korea.
The Station Was Rebuilt
Yangwon Station in Miracle is not the real Yangwon Station. The same is true of the scenery of Seungbu Station and the village. The production team said, "At the beginning of the production, we considered filming in Bonghwa, but the conditions around Yangwon Station were not convenient in many ways for the numerous equipment and staff coming in and out." The movie was started because of the setting of the village with a railroad track but no train station, but such a harsh environment prevented them from shooting the scenes of the movie.
Yangwon Station was filmed after restoring it to its life-size in Yucheon-ri, Yeoryang-myeon, Jeongseon, Gangwon-do. The scene where Joonkyung (Park Jeongmin) and Rahee (Lim Yoona) ride bicycles and pass through the country road under the strange rock cliffs is a view of Nakcheon-ri, Imgye-myeon, Jeongseon. The exterior of Seungbu Station is the look of Dogyeong-ri Station in Samcheok, Gangwon-do. Dogyeong-ri Station is a one-story wooden building built in 1939 during the Japanese colonial period and the oldest train station on the Yeongdong Line. The inside of the train was filmed inside the old train with a narrow gauge preserved at the Uiwang Railway Museum in Gyeonggi-do. The train was manufactured in Korea in 1965 and ran on the Suin Line. Unlike regular passenger trains, it is characterized by a structure in which passengers sit facing each other.
Back to 1980’s
Miracle focused on capturing the sensibility of the 1980s, which stimulates nostalgia, while also capturing the sentimental atmosphere of a rural village without train stations through beautiful sceneries and colors. The production team filmed locations in various places, including Jeongseon and Samcheok in Gangwon-do and Sangju and Yeongju in Gyeongsangbuk-do, to capture lively scenery harmonized with nature, such as fresh greenery under the blue sky and railroad tracks passing through the vast mountain.
Reflecting the character who admires stars, Joonkyung's room, which appears as a major place, was set up as a high space where he could observe the sky closely, that is, an attic with windows, and the production design team made delicate efforts to express the story of Joonkyung, who still insists on the attic with childhood memories even after he grew up tall enough to hit the ceiling of the attic.
Meanwhile, the props and the episodes from the 1980s, which recall old memories just by looking at them, added a warm sensibility to the movie. Besides old cassette tapes, VHS, game players, polaroid cameras, and map books, the staff managed to scrape up red public phones and mailboxes from all over the country, stimulating pleasant nostalgia. On top of that, the colorful costumes, reflecting the era of school uniform autonomy in the 1980s but adding bold colors and patterns, evoke fresh curiosity for young audiences and old memories for audiences who shared the 1980s.
Recreation of On the Line
On the Line is a crime movie that occurs when Seojoon (Byun Yohan), who lost everything caught by the trap of a voice phishing organization, infiltrates their base in China to recover the money taken from him and meets the voice phishing designer ‘Pro Kwak’ (Kim Muyeol). On the Line follows Seojoon, who infiltrated the call center, the base of a voice phishing organization, and shows the secret of this world to the audience. Directors Kim Gok and Kim Sun said, "We constantly tried to capture everything about the voice phishing organization as realistic and detailed as possible. We think that was the only way to raise the alarm for this crime.” The staff made the film based on thorough preliminary research.
The Place Definitely Exists, but Nobody Has Seen It.
Directors Kim Sun, Kim Gok and the staff had difficulty obtaining specific information on the base of a voice phishing organization. They said, "The hard thing was there were no videos or visual materials taken at the base. Some data were secretly filmed, so the image quality was very bad. It didn't fit into the movie." Based on the advice of experts, the base of voice phishing, which added the detailed imagination of the production designer Lee Nagyeom, is the heart of On the Line. Production designer Lee Nagyeom explained, “At first, I thought of a big and empty shopping mall, where desires were expressed by consumption once. As another twisted desire enters the place, it fits conceptually that it occurs as a crime."
Overseas Location Completed by Technology
The realistic landscapes of China and the Philippines, the background of the voice phishing bases, is one of the fun to watch in On the Line. In conclusion, the actors did not go to the local areas and produced results that made use of the local feeling. It is all thanks to the local locations which were completed as the best cinematic space.
On the Line was born during the Pandemic, which started and finished its shooting in 2020. At the end of January 2020, a week before the filming in China, the COVID-19 virus began to spread in earnest in China, and it became unclear whether filming in the location was possible or not, so the production team set up an on-site production consisting of overseas staff members. Since the main concept of the movie was ‘realism,’ it was the best way to capture the base of an actual voice phishing organization, known to be based in China and Southeast Asia.
When the production team for On the Line commanded in real-time in Korea, the local production team in China filmed the landscape of Shenyang, China, and the Korean production team shared it in real-time and monitored it. In addition, On the Line was able to capture vivid local images on the screen by the local production team’s efforts in the Philippines.
Through CG, the Korean production team synthesized the actors and the overseas landscape taken by the local production team, realizing vivid overseas scenes on the screen. Many people naturally regarded that the perfect result was from the large-scaled overseas location. The new overseas location method of On the Line will be an exemplary case for movies that need overseas locations in a pandemic situation later.