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Hyperbola of Youth happens to be the oldest Korean musical that I've ever seen and despite its age, it manages to entertain.
Shot just shortly after the Korean War, the film deals with two families, a wealthy one and a poor one, of which the elder sons were friends in school. Both men visit the doctor complaining of continuous stomach problems, one from overeating and the other from malnutrition and the comic-relief doctor suggests that they switch lives for a couple weeks to see if that'll resolve the problem. Oh, and both men have younger sisters, so you know where this is going.
Obviously, a prince and pauper type tale, as both socio-economic class refugees have to learn to deal with the challenges that the other faces. While a very simple tale, about finding love, the viewpoint of the film is kind of interesting, having the two rich kids be more the protagonists. Ultimately, the film's perspective is bent towards the "goodness" of the poor working class and the wastefulness and excess of the rich, but this is only a slight bent. And everything ends happily, you know, because it's a musical.
The songs themselves are an amalgam of seemingly popular Korean music from the era and are usually sung as songs, rather than used, American-musical style, in a song and dance number that "breaks" the reality of the film.
The acting is decent, even if a little hammy at times (comic relief in particular). The film takes a little time to get going and does run a little rough in terms of pacing and cleanly telling the story. The parallels also feel a little obvious. However, for a film of its historical background, it's still surprisingly put together.
Unfortunately, the print is in very poor shape, suffering from uneven exposure between reels, lots and lots of scratches, specks, dirt, missing frames and the like. However, I suppose we're lucky to even have it in the shape it's in and available for purchase. Furthermore, the film is actually quite enjoyable on its simple terms, so I have to recommend it for its historical significance and its simple pleasures. 7/10.