HomeReviewsNYAFF: Dream, The Power Of Social Change Transpires Through A Sports K-Drama

NYAFF: Dream, The Power Of Social Change Transpires Through A Sports K-Drama

The 2023 New York Asian Film Festival line-up includes a sports comedy-drama that bestows a feel-good aspirational vibe: Dream. 

The South Korean film directed by Lee Byeong-heon, starring Park Seo-jun and Lee Ji-eun/IU, is based on the true story of the 2010 Homeless World Cup in which Korea took part for the first time, although it takes artistic license in the depiction of its protagonists.

Yoon Hong-dae (Park Seo-jun), is a soccer player (football player in the U.

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K.), who receives disciplinary provision for having a vehement reaction against an insidious reporter who gossips on his mother’s fraud charges. While on hiatus, Yoon Hong-dae is given the challenging job of coaching the national team for the Homeless World Cup, to restore his reputation with the media. Through it all there is the gutsy Lee So Min (Lee Ji-eun/IU), who captures this entire enterprise on camera, since she is a filmmaker who aspires to make her breakthrough with a documentary about the team.

Lee Byeong-heon fictionalises the Homeless World Cup by channelling its social intent into the motivations of his dramatised characters. The South Korean film director and screenwriter — known for his previous films Twenty and the Extreme Job — creates a powerful construction of the backstories of the homeless trainees. Hwan Dong (Kim Jong Soo), used to be a successful CEO who tore his life and family apart by giving into vice, Young Jin (Hong Wan Pyo), hides several secrets; Moon Soo (Yang Hyun Min), looks tough and imperturbable but is sensitive deep down; In Seon (Lee Hyun Woo) grew up as an orphan and was further traumatised when his reliable friend went missing; Beom Soo (Jung Seung Gil), loves a woman with intellectual disabilities; Hyo Bong (Go Chang Seok) is a sweet gullible man who was trampled by various misfortunes and simply wants to spend time with his daughter before she moves to Australia with her stepfather. These are the stories of redemption that intertwine with Yoon Hong-dae’s atonement. In addition, the club’s secretary general Hwang In Guk (Heo Joon Seok) is the person who always cheers on the team members and relentlessly supports them.

Although this reality show project seems to reshape Hong Dae into a celebrity and elicit in Lee So Min the desire to dramatise every shot, the pair and the entire team will experience a profound transformational journey.

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In fact, the newly-elected coach and the ambitious documentarian start out on this adventure for personal interest but end up pursuing the team’s success for a grander purpose: giving a second chance to the wretched.

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Thanks to Lee Byeong-heon we get a glimpse of what it means to be homeless, as he denounces the indiscriminate and frequent violence that is addressed against these unsheltered individuals. Thus, Dream allows to inspire viewers, through the cinematic tool, to unite for active social change.

Final Grade: B

Check out more of Chiara’s articles.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Chiara Spagnoli Gabardihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Works as film critic and journalist who covers stories about culture and sustainability. With a degree in Political Sciences, a Master’s in Screenwriting & Film Production, and studies at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Chiara has been working in the press since 2003. Italian by blood, British by upbringing, fond of Japanese culture since the age of 7, once a New Yorker always a New Yorker, and an avid traveller, Chiara collaborates with international magazines and radio-television networks. She is also a visual artist, whose eco-works connect to her use of language: the title of each painting is inspired by the materials she upcycles on canvas. Her ‘Material Puns’ have so far been exhibited in four continents, across ten countries. She is a dedicated ARTivist, donating her works to the causes and humanitarians she supports, and is Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan.


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