by ParkChohwa, September 30, 2015
17

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I have a bunch more great school-based works for you today. What do you think about them?


Seonam Girls 

High School Investigators

(Drama)

This is the second best Korean school drama for me. Technically and in terms of genuineness this is number one. But School 2013 places first because of the huge amount of emotions it triggered in my heart. Anyhow, this school drama is unlike any other school work. Though it tackles issues already discussed like private education, bullying, teen pregnancy and abortion, suicide, part timing and homosexuality, it does it with a creative approach. Through a team of detectives, the issues are confronted through an investigation that tends to present the conformist view of society and the opposite and non-conformist one. The view that is more humane is weighed more. Though the drama shows that some people are redeemable, it also insists –thankfully- that some people don’t simply change just because they’re faced with the ugliness of their actions and their consequences. Literary texts and intellectual discussions are included to help deepen the level of the issues presented. In a drama addressed for teenagers, the level of discussion is bravely high. The questions tossed at the characters and the watchers are no black-white ones. Though one opinion might be yours, you can’t help pondering upon the other. Great acting from a bunch of young stars and an amazing approach to problematic matters.


Bleak Night

(Film)

The title manifests the core of the film. Set in a high school, the film narrates the story of a typical teen in need of love, attention and acknowledgment. His two friends make his world where his parents are absent . When misunderstandings and his inability to truly express himself, his needs and his love stand in the way, his world shatters. Even when trying to redeem what he ruined, he can’t get rid of his bossy behaviors or hurtful words. He crosses the point of no return and realizes that.

The film is brilliant, whether it be the story, the techniques, the cinematography or the acting. The dialogues, wording and gestures of the teens are so realistic. The pain of shock, loss and regret are written all over the friends’ faces it’s tormenting to watch.


Zombie School

(Film)

The film is not well-written, and has many holes, but I decided to add it here to applaud the try. Well, apparently the film is about zombies, but zombies here are a metaphor for schools and teachers. The film is a rebellion against the educational system that belittles the students and abuses them physically and emotionally. Schools and teachers are the zombies students need to get rid of to survive. Zombies might infect the students even in altering their views on life and brainwashing them. The ending, though, shows a ray of hope. Humans might be able to save zombies and survive together. If you don’t read the message behind the film, you won’t like it.


My Teacher, Mr. Kim

(Film)

This amazing film is about the incredible change children can bring about in adults. How their sincerity, the spark in their eyes, their unconditional love and trust and their innocent dreams can make a selfish teacher the most humane one. A touching story with wonderful acting from the kids and their teacher.


Mr. Socrates

(Film)

Though in a hilarious way, the film presents an interesting way of educating ‘’helpless’’ teens. Without education, a person can never succeed in life and the film is about the shift in people’s lives because of education. Lots of philosophical lines and intriguing questions thrown at the audience. The school in the film is not an ideal school in any aspect. Well actually, it's a school that shouldn’t really exist. But, a part of me wished it really existed so those teenagers who think they’re larger than life can see reason.


Lovely Rivals

(Film)

Set in an elementary school, there is a selfish teacher who cares nothing for her students and does her job roughly. One handsome male teacher comes to the school and sweeps the teacher off her feet. Her student notices that and decides to teach her teacher a lesson. The message of the film is that students need the attention and care of their teachers. The message couldn’t be conveyed any funnier.


Shut Up: Flower Boy Band

(Drama)

Another drama on dreams to become musicians and the struggles on the way. How agencies use teenagers unfairly and how that not just affects but totally alters the lives of those boys. It’s a beautiful drama on the hard choice between future and friends.


The Legend of Seven Cutter

(Film)

If a student is labelled as a troublemaker, it’s almost impossible to release him of that life sentence. He instantly becomes the first suspect in any fight or other troubles. He can’t have a peaceful time in or out of the classroom. The film is a funny but touching story of one such student.


The Suspicious Housekeeper

(Drama)

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This family drama addresses many issues. Many of them are related to the kids’ school life. Bullying and sex are introduced. The effects of suicide and a negligent father on the kids’ life. The need for love, attention and guidance. The secrets they hide in order not to appear broken or weak. Not your usual family drama but a good one; in a different way.


Thorn

(Film)

The idea behind this film is a persistent and dangerous one teachers face a lot. A student’s admiration and love can turn into a scary obsession. It happened personally to me and I had to nip it in the bud but it was too late. I had to endure the guilt of watching the boy making himself miserable so he won’t suffer later. The film shows one example and though it’s so dark, it’s not unrealistic. Teaching students of another gender is such a risky job.

The film is not for everyone though because it shows things as they really are.


Bonus:

Korean High School

(Documentary)

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In this documentary made by an American student going to Korean high school to experience life there, the stress and pressure of studying, suicide, parents’ expectations and the extreme tendency to look beautiful are all tackled. The issues presented in dramas and films are not exaggerated after all; unfortunately.


See you soon in another part. Can't wait to read your thoughts.

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