Adapted from The Best Life by Lim Sol-ah, Snowball is a 2020 South Korean youth drama film, directed by Lee Woo-jeong and starring Bang Min-ah (Girl's Day), Shim Dal-gi and Han Sung-min. It tells the story of three high school best friends who run away to find answers to their perceived troubles.
Kang-Yi (Bang Min-Ah), A-Ram (Shim Dal-Gi) and So-Young (Han Sung-Min) are classmates and close friends. They always hang out together. The girls decide to run away from home without having any specific plans. They soon run out of money. They make choices, which they think are the best for them, but their choices end up being hurtful to them. Their close relationship breaks apart.
III. Production & Release
On 30 October 2019, Bang Min-ah was confirmed to appear in the film based on the novel The Best Life by Lim Sol-ah which has won the 4th Munhakdongne University Novel Awards in 2015.
Snowball was premiered at 25th Busan International Film Festival held from October 21 to 30, 2020. It was invited at the 20th New York Asian Film Festival in the Next/Now section of the festival. The two-week festival was held from August 6 to 22, 2021 in New York. The film was screened at Beatrice Theatre, SVA Theatre on August 15, 2021. The film was invited to 46th Seoul Independent Film Festival in New Choice section, 9th Muju Mountain Film Festival and the 23rd Seoul International Women's Film Festival in Discovery competition section. It was screened at Megabox Sangam World Cup Stadium 4 on August 29, 2021. It was released theatrically on September 1, 2021.
The film was initially released on 101 screens. As of September 27, 2021, it grossed US$78,076 from 10,508 admissions.
Panos Kotzathanasis reviewing for HanCinema wrote that - Lee Woo-jeong has directed the film with two main elements irrationality and violence. In his opinion Lee Jae-u's cinematography was average and pace of the film was slow due to editing. Kotzathanasis praised the performance of the main actors and ends the review as - Snowball has its merits, with parts of the script, the acting, and a number of comments being well communicated. As a whole however, it does not make that much sense, with the sole excuse here being that it is Lee Woo-jeong's feature debut.
VIII. Ohmy News
Lee Seon-pil of Ohmy News, rating the film with 3.5 stars out of 5 wrote, that the film has tried to communicate with the audience by delving into life of three high school girls, who broke the accepted social rules and expectations. He summed up the review as, - The film presenting a storm of complex emotions rather than easy sympathy.
VIIII. The Fact
Lee Han-lim of The Fact reviewing the film wrote that film began as autobiographical diary of the protagonist. He praised the actors for their performance, writing, - The performances of the actors stand out. Lee calling it, - A memorable independent art film wrote, The emotional change that Kang Yi feels toward the end of the film is extremely realistic and shocking.
Lee Joo-hyun of Cine21 reviewing the film appreciated the cinematography with handheld camera to capture expressions and actions of teenage girls in a simple yet vivid way and creating cinematic moments under the influence of the original rather than escaping far from it. Praising the performance of lead actresses, Lee wrote, - All three actors in the movie give their best performances. Liking the setting of film plot in the early 2000s, Lee felt, - The low-saturation screen brings out the feeling of the past. As the film didn't actually show the physical violence, Lee appreciated - the intentional omission and distance from the film, and moving away of camera but capturing the emotions before and after the event.
VIV. Spotify News
Kang Hyo-jin of Spotify News reviewing the film wrote, - In this work which focuses on emotional changes rather than the story, the portrayal of protagonist was not easy to interpret and express as she has to show dramatic changes. Kang lauded the performance of lead actresses Bang Min-ah and said, - Bang Min-ah, who has grown into an actress did a great job in the lead role. Kang felt that the ending of film was abrupt and - It may lead to different likes and dislikes in terms of empathy. She opined, - It meticulously captures fragments of emotions and memories that anyone who has spent their school days should feel at least once.
VIVI. Igor Fishman
Igor Fishman reviewing the film, opined that the director Lee has focused on generally felt teenage estrangement, as engrossing and basic as James Dean’s quivering breakdown in Rebel Without a Cause. Igor praising the performance of Bang Min-ah, the protagonist, said, - Much like the Nicholas Ray classic, the film’s effectiveness is tied wholesale to the performance of its lead, with Bang Min-ah’s finely tuned expressions of inner turmoil bringing Lee’s (director) world to life.
VII. Awards & Nominations
|2020||25th Busan International Film Festival||KTH Award||Lee Woo-jung||Won|
|2020||25th Busan International Film Festival||CGK & Samyang XEEN Award||Lee Jae-u||Won|
|2020||46th Seoul Independent Film Festival||New Choice Award||Snowball||Won|
|2021||20th New York Asian Film Festival||Rising Star Asia Award||Bang Min-ah||Won|