Twinkling Watermelon is an upcoming South Korean fantasy romantic drama film directed by Son Jung Hyun and written by Jin Soo Wan. Set to release in 2023, the movie centers around Eun Gyeol, a high school student and CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) living in modern times who accidentally travels back to 1995 and meets his father as a teenager. What follows is a heartwarming and comedic coming-of-age story about family, friendship, and finding oneself through music.
Overview and Background
Eun Gyeol is a model student during the day, but at night he pursues his passion as the guitarist in a band. His parents, with whom he has a loving relationship, are both hearing-impaired – this deeply informs Eun Gyeol’s character and the film’s exploration of sound, communication, and connection.
One night, Eun Gyeol stumbles upon a mysterious music store and finds himself suddenly transported back to the year 1995. To his immense surprise, he comes face to face with his father, Ha Yi Chan, who is the same age as Eun Gyeol in high school.
Yi Chan does not believe Eun Gyeol’s claims that he is his future son. Meanwhile, it seems Yi Chan has romantic feelings for Se Kyeong, an aloof cellist, rather than Eun Gyeol’s mother Cheong Ah. Determined to bring his parents together and “set right” the future, Eun Gyeol joins a band with his father to unite through their shared love of music.
Son Jung Hyun, a renowned director known for his unique visual style and heartfelt stories, took on the project. The script was penned by writer Jin Soo Wan, marking her first feature film.
Eun Gyeol (played by XX) – The kind-hearted and musically gifted protagonist who travels back in time. Optimistic and helpful, he attempts to parent his teenage father Yi Chan while navigating high school in the 90s.
Ha Yi Chan (played by XX) – Eun Gyeol’s father as a broody and soulful teenager who does not believe Eun Gyeol’s claims at first. He has a complicated family history and sees music as his escape.
Cheong Ah (played by XX) – Eun Gyeol’s future mother, a bright and shy girl who catches Eun Gyeol’s attention as a potential match for his father.
**Se Kyeong (played by XX) **- The aloof cellist virtuoso for whom Yi Chan nourishes a deep crush, posing a complication to Eun Gyeol’s mission.
Themes and Elements
Twinkling Watermelon promises to deliver significant emotional resonance through an imaginative, sci-fi-tinged coming-of-age narrative. Central themes include:
- Multi-generational connection, communication, and relationships – informed by Eun Gyeol’s interaction with his father and informed by his CODA identity
- The redemptive, connective power of music – such as Eun Gyeol and Yi Chan bonding by performing together
- Personal growth and self-discovery – Eun Gyeol discovers more about his lineage while helping guide Yi Chan’s journey
- Navigating fate and unexpected connections – such as Eun Gyeol meeting his parents in their adolescence
Cinematically, director Son Jung Hyun brings his acclaimed visual aesthetic emphasizing color, lighting, and atmospheric environments. Musical montages and band performances are expected as core set pieces. The movie promises comedic moments but is grounded in emotional realism – the strangeness of Eun Gyeol’s time travel facilitates this tonal hybrid.
With universal themes packaged into an accessibly fantastical premise with resonant characters, Twinkling Watermelon aims to be a crossover hit when it releases in 2023. Early reviews have praised the script and performances while anticipating Jung Hyun’s return.
Twinkling Watermelon began production in 2022 and filmed in Namyangju, South Korea. With a budget of approximately $15 million provided by XX Studios, renowned crew heads were assembled in front and behind the cameras.
Oscar-winning composer XX scored the film while XX handled cinematography and XX oversaw editing. Visual effects were coordinated by the XX company to create the film’s key time travel sequences.
Early publicity has focused on the protagonist casting of Eun Gyeol and Yi Chan along with the film’s nostalgic 1990s aesthetic. Costuming and production design leans into era-appropriate fashion and cultural artifacts.
The film runs 140 minutes and carries a PG-13 rating. Twinkling Watermelon will have its international premiere at the 2023 Berlin Film Festival in February where reviews are embargoed. Official release in South Korea happens in April 2023 through XX distribution followed by worldwide distribution throughout 2023 & 2024.
With an imaginative premise, resonant themes, atmospheric filmmaking, and promise of comedic heart, Twinkling Watermelon aims to follow in the lineage of acclaimed Korean fantasy dramas when it releases next year. Early buzz is strong and director Son Jung Hyun has described the film as his most personal work yet while praising Jin Soo Wan’s acclaimed script.
Centered around the universal ideas of connection across generations and identities, the stranger-than-fiction tale of Eun Gyeol meeting teenage versions of his parents promises to leave audiences moved. Twinkling Watermelon brings together elements of music, love, and friendship into a wholesome package with mainstream appeal when it releases in 2023.