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About the film (catalogue PDF)

About Im Kwon-Taek (catalogue PDF)

"Im Kwon-Taek's masterly film shows a family at risk of tearing itself apart but centers on the traditional aspects of the ceremonies themselves. Like 'Soepyoenje' and other Im Kwon-Taek films, this is in part a defiant assertion of aspects of Korean culture which are in danger of being lost. But it's also Im's most experimental film in some time: the entire story is filtered through glimpses of a child's picturebook vision of the death of her grandmother – arresting, stylized sequences whose meaning falls into place only in the closing moments. Ahn Sung-gee plays the eldest son of the Lee family, the man who is required to be chief mourner when his elderly mother passes away. He is a successful novelist in Seoul, and relieved rather than grief-stricken that the senile eighty-seven-year-old has died. His self-assurance and competence are placed under increasing strain by circumstances (the sudden illness of the singer hired to lead the wake, drunken outbursts from mourners) and by hitherto unvoiced resentments (several relatives, he learns, believe that he presents an idealized image of himself in his own novels). Beyond it all, though, is the timeless beauty of the ceremony, which helps soothe the various tensions and guides the film to a warm affirmative ending." Tony Rayns

Production: Taehung Production, Seoul

Screenplay: Yook Sang-hyo

Cinematographer: Park Seung-bae

Art Direction: Kim Yu-joon, Kwon Soon-mi

Cast: Ahn Sung-gi, Oh Jung-hae, Han Eun-jin, Chung Kyung-soon, Park Seung-tae

Format/screen ratio: 35mm, 1:1.85, Color

Running time: 108 min., 24 frames/sec.

Language: Korean

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur