With pure light and secular shadow, he imprints the ambivalent charms to his characters

Kim Youngmin

Kim Youngmin, a middle-aged actor who looks much younger, has grown up with Korean cinema for 20 years. As a teenager, he fell in love with theater and has since walked the path of an actor, making his screen debut with Address Unknown (2001). In Kim Kiduk’s early films, such as Address Unknown, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring (2003), the actor captured human desires and frustrations as the director’s persona. In the mid-2000s, Kim received great attention through the plays such as An Ode To Youth and Equus. Around that time, he played characters who have fine appearances and pure eyes with a blade on the inside, going back and forth between screen and stage.

With the image of a pretty boy even in his 30s, Kim Youngmin played a young man who wandered around with a wounded heart. However, he showed an unexpected appearance in Viva! Love (2008), which is about a romance between a mother and her daughter’s boyfriend. It was only Kim’s pure charm that turned the subject of an affair drama into a fantasy-like melodrama. It was surprising to see how his calm performance slowly made viewers empathize with the innocent, immature young man Gusang. In the 2010s, he played roles quite opposite to the previous ones. He transformed into a character of a messed-up, soul-destroyed man. In One on one (2014), the actor played the role of a bad man who does irresponsible things as a servant of a man in power. And in Madonna (2015), Kim played a cold-hearted trust fund kid who tries to prolong his father’s life at the expense of others. Rather than being a stereotypical villain, Kim Youngmin portrayed the character’s wounded heart in a unique way.

It can be said that 2020 was the year when we discovered different aspects of the veteran actor. Kim Youngmin appeared as a supporting actor in dramas Crash Landing on You and The World of the Married, which led the K-Wave, to be widely talked about as a scene-stealer. Also, he was still shining in popular independent films. In Lucky Chan-sil, he played an unrealistic man who consoled Chan-sil (Kang Malgeum), a movie producer who was worried about the future. The character’s sleek charm introducing himself as “I’m Cheung Kwok-wing” in the white undershirt, reminiscent of Cheung Kwok-wing in Days of Being Wild, serves as the center of gravity in the movie. In A French Women (2020), Kim appeared as a junior actor who worked with Mira (Kim Hojung), who returned from Paris after her divorce. Saying “Sis, you’re cool enough,” the former theater actor falls back into memories with her, naturally unraveling the story of theater and life. His soft charisma makes us realize that his story is about to start again. Jeon Jonghyuk