Snowball (최선의 삶), dir. Lee Woo-jung, South Korea 2021, 109 min., Korean with English subtitles
Daejeon, 1993, and a trio of 18-year-old girls are inseparable: Kang-yi, who always waits to see her friends’ reactions before acting herself; Ah-ram, who’ll pick up anything she finds on the street, and So-young, whose strong exterior hides an anxious heart. Always talking of escape to ‘somewhere else, somewhere unknown’, the trio runs away from home, creating a micro-universe built upon their friendship. But once they’ve broken away from the day-to-day, the girls suddenly feel as if they no longer know one another – and cracks begin to appear in their romantic illusions of friendship.
Director Lee Woo-jung’s first feature bursts with just as much intensity and emotion as her earlier short films, further demonstrating her unrivalled skill in the telling of coming-of-age stories. Snowball is delicately layered with unclear and uneven feelings of dissatisfaction, discomfort, fear and insecurity – and the humidity and stickiness of summer nights.