It’s called Hallyu: Il Mare

Back with another edition of ‘It’s called Hallyu’ where I explore the many facets of South Korean entertainment and what it has in store for the world! This time it’s an intricate movie with a very unique theme. It’s a beautiful mix of sci-fi and romance where a woman living in the year 1999, falls in love with a man living in the year,1998.

Theatrical release poster

Title: Il Mare ( translates to ‘The Sea’ in Italian)

Country of origin: South Korea

Language: Korean

Directed by: Lee Hyun Seung

Written by: Yeo Jin Na, Kim Eun Jung, Kim Mi Yeong, Won Tae Yeon

Starring: Jun Ji Hyun, Lee Jung Jae

Music: Kim Hyung Chul

Released: 9 September 2000

Duration: 96 minutes

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Jun Ji Hyun as Eun Joo

The story starts with Eun Joo in the year 1999, vacating the lake house she was residing in to an apartment. As she leaves, she places a Christmas card in the letter box, asking the next resident to forward her mail to her, and that she doesn’t know how the black paw prints came near the front door.

Lee Jung Jae as Sung Hyun

The letter is received by Sung Hyun an architectural student. He is puzzled because, one the letter is dated two years in the future, he is the first resident in the lake house, he doesn’t know why the letter refers to the home as Il Mare, and he doesn’t see any of the black paw prints mentioned in the letter.

Strange occurrences happen when one day Sung Hyun is painting a name board for the lake house. A little dog comes in, knocking a can of black paint and walking all over it, causing black paw prints to come near the front door. Bewildered at that, he names the lake house ‘Il Mare’. He checks the address that Eun Joo provided to forward her mail, and he sees that the address she mentioned is a building under construction.

Slowly, they both realize they are living in two different years, and that they can communicate through letters kept in the mail box. Soon they agree to meet for a date, which is the next day for Eun Joo and two years later for Sung Hyun. But the incidents that follow and the fate that connect them, is stranger than their love story.

I happened to come across this film as I was reading the filmography of actress Jun Ji Hyun. The moment I read the plot I decided I had to watch this. I was intrigued at such an interesting plotline, and I wanted to know how the story writers developed around it.

And I was actually not disappointed at how they worked around this one. It was made simply, rather than confusing the audience. Most of the time, intricate time travel stories, intersecting dimensions of time is not the kind of theme a large amount of audience can understand fully, from just watching the movie. But through the ‘letter box’ that connected them, the simplicity helped the audience understand.

The characters didn’t have too much complexity in their build ups, which I think is good, because the theme holds the uniqueness required for this film. Although this film, didn’t see a humungous success, it’s still a film that is interesting to watch. It does have an English remake, called ‘The Lake House’, but I certainly prefer the original, as the added details in the English version, just turned it more into an ordinary rom-com than anything else.

Have you watched this interesting movie? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Thank you so so much for writing about this movie! I absolutely loved it. There is a unique feel to it which I can’t describe in words. They executed the entire concept flawlessly. I really wished ending could have been different but one doesn’t really have control over the story and that’s what gives it a realistic feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I find posts on wonderful movies like this, so rare. It is unique! The execution is what I loved the most! And about the realistic feel, it’s true. Korean movies are generally known to give out a realistic endings whether it makes us sad or not. But that’s what I love most about it!

      Liked by 1 person

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