Punch (2011 film)

Punch (Korean완득이; RRWan-deuki) is a 2011 South Korean coming-of-age film directed by Lee Han about the budding mentor-mentee relationship forged between a rebellious high school student from a poor household (Yoo Ah-in) and his meddlesome homeroom teacher who moves in next door (Kim Yoon-seok).[2][3]

Punch (2011 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Revised RomanizationWan-deuki
Directed byLee Han
Produced byKim Dong-woo
Ham Jeong-yeop
Bae Seong-eun
Written byKim Dong-woo
Based onWandeuk-yi
by Kim Ryeo-ryeong
StarringYoo Ah-in
Kim Yoon-seok
Music byLee Jae-jin
CinematographyJo Yong-gyu
Edited byNam Na-yeong
Ubu Film
Another Pictures
Distributed byCJ E&M Pictures
Release date
  • October 20, 2011 (2011-10-20)
Running time
110 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Box officeUS$33.6 million[1]

It is based on the bestselling novel Wandeuk by Kim Ryeo-ryeong, which has sold more than 700,000 copies since it was published in 2008.[4][5]


Eighteen-year-old Do Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) lives with his hunchback father Jeong-bok (Park Su-yeong) and stuttering uncle Min-gu (Kim Young-jae), former cabaret clowns now having to work in open-air markets after the closure of the nightclub they used for many years. Wan-deuk never knew his mother, who walked out 17 years ago, and has become a young brawler. His unconventional high school teacher, Lee Dong-ju (Kim Yoon-seok), who treats all his students with equal harshness, lives on the rooftop next door and is always on Wan-deuk's back. Both are perpetually insulted by a grouchy neighbor (Kim Sang-ho), who lives with his younger sister Lee Ho-jeong (Park Hyo-joo), a writer of "existential martial arts novels" under the pen-name Moonbow. When Jeong-bok and Min-ju start going on the road looking for work, Jeong-bok asks Dong-ju to keep an eye on his son, and the two become closer. Dong-ju tells Wan-deuk his mother, Lee Suk-hee (Jasmine B. Lee) is actually a Filipina and working in a restaurant in Seongnam, a satellite city south of Seoul. Thanks to Dong-ju, mother and son finally meet for the first time. Meanwhile, Jeong Yun-ha (Kang Byul), the brightest pupil in class, has taken a liking to Wan-deuk after splitting with her boyfriend Hyeok-ju (Kim Dong-yeong). When Wan-deuk takes up kickboxing to funnel his aggression, Yun-ha helps him. But just when Wan-deuk has come to rely on Dong-ju's tutorship, the latter is arrested by the police for helping illegal immigrant workers.[6][7]


Differences from the novelEdit

In a Q&A session after the world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival,[15] director Lee Han stated that the female character Lee Ho-jeong, who was not in the original novel, was added as the love interest of high school teacher Lee Dong-ju to allow the audience to empathize with him more.

The ethnicity of Wan-deuk's mother was changed from Vietnamese in the novel to Filipina in the film.


Punch brought to the forefront several of the less recognized features of a changing Korean cultural landscape: intercultural marriage and multicultural households, a growing population of migrant workers, an education system narrowly focused on preparation for university entrance examinations, and the economic vulnerability of the disabled.[16] As such, no one expected the film to make a lot of money.

But Punch sold 640,000 tickets on its opening week of release, then claimed the top spot at the box office for the second consecutive week by selling over two million tickets.[17] The film's popularity grew through word of mouth, with an unprecedented number of schools, government offices, and private companies arranging for group viewings.[16]

Punch eventually sold 5.3 million tickets in South Korea during its box office run. The movie ranks #3 for Korean film ticket sales in 2011 and #4 for ticket sales for all films released in South Korea in 2011.[18]

It was also invited to the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival; it screened in Generation 14Plus, a competition section of Berlinale devoted to films for teens.[19][20][21][22]

Commenting on the positive reception, director Lee Han told Yonhap News that the seemingly eclectic ensemble of characters who appear in Punch, though they rarely receive the limelight, are present and active as members of Korean society. Lee spoke of how the warmth and honesty with which he tried to portray these characters and introduce their daily lives has resonated with viewers.[16]

Since the film's release, Filipina actress Jasmine B. Lee, a naturalized Korean, has become well known for playing the mother of the young protagonist. The recognition of her performance as an actress has also brought publicity to her social activities as the secretary general of Waterdrop, a charity she formed for migrant women, and as one of the first non-Korean civil servants at the Seoul Global Center. Her connection to the film has increased recognition of the variety of services available for foreigners living in Korea. She was later elected in 2012 as a proportional representative in South Korea’s National Assembly, the first Filipina and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker.[23]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2011 Korean Institute of Film Application Healing Movie of the Year Punch Won
2012 3rd KOFRA Film Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Won
Discovery Award Yoo Ah-in Won
Public Relation Award Lee Yoon-jung Won
62nd Berlin International Film Festival Crystal Bear for Best Film Punch Nominated
48th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Lee Han Nominated
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
14th Far East Film Festival Black Dragon Award Punch 3rd place
21st Buil Film Awards Best Director Lee Han Won
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
Yoo Ah-in Nominated
59th Film Festival Zlín Ecumenical Jury Award Punch Won
33rd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Park Hyo-joo Nominated
16th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Just Film Grand Prix for Best Film Punch Nominated


  1. ^ "Wandeukyi (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  2. ^ Hong, Lucia (8 March 2011). "Kim Yun-seok, Yoo A-in begin shooting new film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  3. ^ Kim, Haery (3 February 2012). "Feature profile – Punch, directed by LEE Han". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  4. ^ "Wandeuk". Han Books. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  5. ^ "2011.10.28 NOW PLAYING: Punch". Korea JoongAng Daily. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  6. ^ Elley, Derek (2 February 2012). "Punch". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  7. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (6 October 2011). "Hope Seeping from the Scars of Youth, Punch". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  8. ^ Hong, Lucia (6 September 2011). "Actor Yoo A-in yearns for high school life". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  9. ^ "Yoo Ah In: 'I Can Do Everything in Front of Camera'". KBS Global. 17 October 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  10. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (20 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Yoo A-in - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  11. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (20 October 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actor Yoo A-in - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  12. ^ Ki, Sun-min (21 October 2011). "Punch pushes actor into next phase of his career". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  13. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (30 September 2011). "Filipina makes waves in Korea". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  14. ^ Lee, Jin-ho (17 October 2011). "Interview: Park Hyo Joo is Done Warming Up". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  15. ^ Kim, Hee-ju (10 October 2011). "BIFF 2011: Actor Yoo A-in heats up Busan". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  16. ^ a b c Kwon, Jungyun (15 December 2011). "A look back at the year's breakout films". Korea.net. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  17. ^ Paquet, Darcy (18 November 2011). "Box office, November 2–15". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  18. ^ "Multiculturalism a New Theme in Korean Movies". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  19. ^ "Berlinale Generation takes Punch". Korean Film Council. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  20. ^ "Korean film Punch invited to Berlin Film Festival". The Korea Times. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  21. ^ "Punch to Feature at Berlin Film Fest". The Chosun Ilbo. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  22. ^ Lee, Claire (1 February 2012). "Seven Korean films invited to 2012 Berlinale". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  23. ^ Hicap, Jonathan (12 April 2012). "Filipino Jasmine Lee makes history, wins in South Korea election". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-05-21.

External linksEdit