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Take Off

Directed by Kim Yong-Hwa, 2009
28 January 2011

Former American Junior alpine athlete Bob comes to Korea in search of his biological mother. With four other non-experienced athletes, he forms the first Korean ski-jump team. Inspired by true events, Take Off takes viewers to Muju, North Jeolla Province, which in 1997, is bidding to host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. A national ski-jumping team needs to be pulled together quickly for the campaign and Bang, a former children’s skiing instructor, is asked to coach.

The construction of the Muju ski resort is underway in the stifling summer heat and the motley group of ski-jumpers- undergo some pitiful sticks and stones-style ‘training’. Lacking access to a proper ski-jumping facility, they head over to an abandoned theme park with some nails and boards, waterproof sheets and buckets of water. As the first Korean ski-jump team, there is no turning back. It is a challenge that they are committed to.

The film culminates in some impressively rendered Olympic Games scenes. The beauty of Take-Off is in the love of the game and the magic of flying. The emotional release is doubly meaningful only because the viewer’s heart is already with the characters and the music director completes the audiovisual experience with some great scores.

Take Off is in the same genre as other recent Korean homegrown sports dramas like Forever the Moment or Bronze Medallist. Hugely popular in Korea and abroad, this film has won various awards at films festivals including the Readers’ Jury Award at the Buil Film Festival and the Best Director, Music and Technology awards at the pusan Film Critics Association Awards.

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