You know people usually say your first love will never be successful and your heart will be forever heavy with memories that cannot be erased.
Why is that so?
Geonchukhakgaeron (Architecture 101) is a successful Lee Yong-ju directed movie that makes people think about their first love.
It was released in March 2012 starring Han Ga-in, Uhm Tae-woong, Lee Je-hoon and Bae Su-ji. The movie has also become a breakout role for Jo Jung-suk with his loveable and charming character.
Yet more to the point this movie has a strong connection with Jeju Island for it was filmed right here in Wimi on the south-coast.
Now the house has been remodelled and reborn as a café dedicated to the movie.
It is a place I have visited.
If you climb the stairs to the second floor you’ll find a huge picture from the movie.
When the characters Seo-yeon and Seung-min, played by Bae Su-ji and Lee Je-hoon in this flashback, share the CD player headphones, I felt a surge of romanticism and sadness which made old memories surface in my mind. I was deeply touched.
“You say you can’t last any longer… with an empty smile… you lean on my shoulders… though the eyes are shut… that you can say it now… that your sad eyes… hurt my heart.”
The powerful song included in the movie, Gieokoe Seubjak (An Essay of Memory), is by Kim Dong-ryul which leads us into a few curious connections with the people who made everything happen.
For example the song’s writer mentioned just above went to the same university and took the same major as the director four years after him.
Moreover the architect who designed Seo-yeon’s house, Gu Seung-hui, went to the same university and took the same major as the director in the same year.
Anyway the origins of the café are due to the production company creating a culture foundation last May. This foundation now looks after the café’s day-to-day life.
Unfortunately the place where the two main characters lie on the grass during the movie has been somewhat trampled on due to the remodelling. I’m sure it’ll grow back in the future.
Originally the building was only a set so work went into making it stronger especially after a passing typhoon added damage. A traditional Korean roof known as a “hanok” has disappeared. Don’t worry though – the folding doors in front of which the ocean waits are still there.
The folding doors were opened for the first time as a café on March 28 of this year. On that day actors Han and Uhm and director Lee were all present. A lot of reporters turned up including quite a few from the mainland.
Han did a few interviews during the day as you can see from my photograph. She is certainly a very beautiful woman.
Having said this I actually like Uhm more. Ever since I saw him in Gajokeui Tansaeng (The Birth of a Family) I’ve been a fan.
Han, Uhm, and Lee took the time to create hand prints. Oh, but still, did I mention how pretty Han looks?
You know out here in Korea mellow movies usually don’t do so well at the box office. Yet a Twitter survey found this movie was chosen as the one viewers wanted to watch one more time. Some four million have seen it so far.
Coupled with the good choice of song for the official soundtrack in An Essay of Memory things have added up nicely then it seems.
Yet the movie’s success coupled with the popularity of the new café might bring some stress for local residents. The café is out of a commercial area and in a residential area. The road is very narrow in front of the ocean.
On the other hand the economic effects of having the café will, of course, bring positives too.
If you haven’t seen Architect 101 I really recommend it. You’ll experience memories of your first love while watching the movie. Then go to the house and daydream towards the ocean of a life that might have been with the love you let go.
Address: Seogwipo-si, Namwon-eup, Wimi-1-ri, 2975
Rental Car: Put the address into the GPS.
Bus Service: From the airport take the airport limousine service to the World Cup Stadium. From there change to Seogwipo’s local 100 bus until the stop at Wimi-1-ri and walk towards the ocean.
From east to west heading towards Seogwipo City, you’ll need to get off after passing the Camellia Forest section.
*This café is on olle Route 5.