Choi Heeseo started her career with a bang. She has become one of the most notable female actors in Korean cinema by appearing in Dongju: The Portrait of A Poet (2016) and Anarchist From Colony (2017), directed by Lee Joonik who is a well-known home and abroad for King and The Clown (2005). Choi left a deep impression even with her brief appearance as a Japanese character in the former film while playing Kaneko Fumiko, a Japanese lover of the main character Park Yeol in the latter film. The reaction was overwhelming. Choi Heeseo’s performance was praised by critics and audiences, and it was thanks to the actor’s efforts. She read every autobiography and review related to the character and spoke Japanese fluently like a Japanese actor.
At the Grand Bell Awards, Korea’s longest-running film award, Choi won both the Best New Actress and the Best Actress for the first time in its history. She swept a total of 11 Best New Actresses at Korean awards ceremonies. However, it wasn’t a luck. Choi Heeseo debuted in 2009 with the film Lifting King Kong and has since appeared in more than 100 short films, plays, and TV dramas series. This means that her stunning acting, which only began to shine in her 30s, did not just come ouf of nowhere.
After the tremendous success of Anarchist From Colony, Choi played a lone protagonist for the first time in Our Body (2018). The film could be summarized as a story where a woman who broke up with her lover and lost her will to live gets free from pain through communication and running with another woman. However, the film takes an unexpected direction. The woman Choi played eventually had full control over her body after going through each sexual fantasy she or others had. In this movie, which seems to be a feministic interpretation of Luis Buñuel’s Belle De Jour, Beauty of the Day (1967) in Seoul in the 21st century, Choi created a multi-layered character who we find hard to either love or hate in a profound depth.
Recently, Choi Heeseo appeared in The Asian Angel, a new film directed by Yuya Ishii. Choi minored in Theater and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley for three years, so she is more prepared than anyone else in the era of the platform beyond languages. Kim Dohoon