|Won Bin's manly tears|
Manly tears in Korean cinema are a very successful motif that elicit an emotional response because they hint at something greater. When these characters break down it feels as though their trauma stems from more than their films' narratives, their tears are pervasive and multi-faceted and draw you into something deeper than mere escapism. The emotional resonance of modern Korean films is a result, in equal parts, of the tremendous, highly-literate talents involved in the industry, and of the historical and psychological trauma that scars them all. The 386 generation (or 486 by this point) brought all their baggage to these film sets and the tears of the leading men feel like their tears, or indeed a whole nations' tears. Relief for the end of oppression and grief now that the release forces them to confront it.
|Lee Byung-hun's manly tears|
The Host features a great deal of crying, although I wouldn't call it manly. I think there is a lot to be said about it but it will need to sit with me for a little while. Mainly I wanted to mention it briefly so that I could include the following photo.
|Song Kang-ho's unmanly tears|
These are just two (and a half) examples that come to mind but there are many more out there. As I list a few more and allow for my thoughts on this topic to germinate, I will expand on this post. If you can think of other good examples, of other reasons why it may be important, or if you think my theory is baloney, please let me know!