Sunset Into the Neon Lights (1995)

Director: Lee Hyeon Seung
Casts: Moon Sung Geun and Chae Shi Ra
Genre: Drama
Running Minutes: 107 minutes
Certi: 18 (South Korea)

Sang Min loves Poet Kim Won who runs a printing company but she soon find out that his company goes bankrupt and he disappears. Sang Min lands a job with an advertising company as a copywriter. She has to deal with her colleagues who have isolated her because she is a woman. However, she manages to overcome the difficulties which she faces through hard work and determination. She has the help from Jee Won, her woman manager. She meets Kyu Hwan, an advertising film director, who has a bad drinking habit and personal memories which hurts him. As she works within the advertising company, she realizes what career she wanted while going through the difficulties.

Think of this film like a mix of American drama ‘Mad Men’ and a few elements (like classic songs) in Hong Kong films. Overall, this film is focus mainly on Sang Min. I believe back in the days, within the company, there is some gender discrimination: men have better working capabilities than women. This character is portrayed as a woman who has been facing in love and career. You can see that she is having her hard time to be in the company while men treated her badly. However, she does believe that she can break this discrimination and determined to be a strong career woman. Besides that, she is also having troubles with love with Kyu Hwan as he started to have feelings for her. Then, she end up having his child after the one night stand. She is determined to keep the baby even though the big boss thinks that she should quit. Thus, whatever obstacles that comes in her way, she will face and challenge them.

I am curious about the director’s focus on the social issues as he presented images of war and refugees. He did touch up those images which makes me realize the sense of reality that happens during that time period. As I saw these images, I felt the pain in my heart like the African children who suffered through pains. In my view, I think he wants to bring out those historical events that happened in the past so that we can imagine what if we are in their shoes. You could say that I sense some connections with those victims.

Since this is a 90s film on advertising, this gives me the opportunity to understand how an advertising company runs during that time period. You can see how these people gone through meetings, draft up advertising ideas, and creating advertisements so that they can market the products. As I am interested in advertising and marketing, this film sort of gives me an overall internal perspective of an advertising company in South Korea. I wonder if one of the director’s intention is about how advertisements and advertising companies run in South Korea.

So, if you are into a classic film which portrays strong career women or if you are interested about how the society goes in that time period (eg. historical events and advertising company), then I would recommend that you watch this film.

Rating: 8/10

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