‘Fam­ily Af­fair’ delves into mean­ing of fam­ily

The Korea Times - - CULTURE - By Jung Hae-my­oung [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

What is it to be a mem­ber of a fam­ily?

The film “Fam­ily Af­fair,” which re­ceived an of­fi­cial in­vi­ta­tion for the Panorama sec­tion at the Bu­san In­ter­na­tional Film Festival, ques­tions the au­di­ence on how sep­a­rated fam­ily mem­bers come back to­gether at the same start­ing point of a long jour­ney.

Direc­tor Lee Dong-eun said the film is about how fam­ily mem­bers are peo­ple who start at the same point, but even­tu­ally head in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

“I think fam­ily should ac­knowl­edge that each is go­ing on a dif­fer­ent path,” Lee said.

“Like in the film, the mem­bers of the fam­ily start the jour­ney at the same time but are sep­a­rated into their own lives. Al­though the fam­ily mem­bers in the film are im­per­fect, they are beau­ti­ful as they are.”

In the film, Kyung-hwan (Tae In-ho), the sec­ond of the sib­lings, re­ceives a post­card from the mother who left them for an­other man that says “I miss you, son.”

Kyung-hwan and Mi-jung (Jang Hye-jin) de­cide to go to the hospi­tal in Paju to see their mother, and also pick up the third si­b­ling, Jae-yoon (Lee Ga-sub), who hates to be with his fam­ily.

They go on a road trip from Bu­san to Paju, near the bor­der be­tween North and South Korea, only to dis­cover their mother has al­ready died. Af­ter the fu­neral, the three sib­lings go their sep­a­rate ways, re­turn­ing to their other pri­or­i­ties in life.

Lee, who has re­leased three films, in­clud­ing “Fam­ily Af­fair,” said he wrote most of the script dur­ing 2013 and 2014.

“That was the time when I was think­ing a lot about the mean­ing of ‘fam­ily.’ It is the clos­est re­la­tion­ship tied by blood and yet can hurt us so much that it is hard to make up eas­ily,” Lee said.

Lee’s two other films, “In Be­tween Sea­sons” and “Moth­ers,” are also about fam­ily. But Lee said he did not in­tend to write three fam­ily films si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

“As every­one in Korea may know, there was a tragic ac­ci­dent in 2014,” Lee said.

“Wit­ness­ing the in­ci­dent, I felt there was noth­ing I could do be­sides writ­ing a script. I wanted to write about the peo­ple who over­come their past wounds and make new mem­o­ries. ‘Fam­ily Af­fair’ is a film about fam­ily but also about mem­ory.”

The film has a dif­fer­ent ti­tle in Korean, “Ni-na, Nae-na,” which means whether you or me, we are go­ing through the same thing. The words are from the Bu­san di­alect, which makes the film closer to the char­ac­ters’ roots.

In the film, Mi-jung says: “Every­one may seem to live dif­fer­ently, but whether it is you or me, we are liv­ing in the same world.” Lee said this was the main mes­sage he wanted to de­liver to the au­di­ence.

The film fea­tures Jang Hye-jin, who played Chung-sook in the film “Par­a­site,” Tae In-ho from the Korean tele­vi­sion drama “Misaeng: In­com­plete Life” and Lee Ga-sub, who won the rookie award at the Dae­jong Film Awards in 2018.

“Al­though this is a low-bud­get film, the res­o­nance is not that small,” Jang said.

“It would be great if this film is seen by every­one. But first I hope the au­di­ence sees this film can smile af­ter watch­ing it.”

“Every­one may seem to live dif­fer­ently, but whether it is you or me, we are liv­ing in the same world. ”

Cour­tesy of Myung Film

From left, Jang Hye-jin, Tae In-ho, Lee Ga-sub star in “Fam­ily Af­fair,” in which three sib­lings go on a jour­ney to find their mother who left when they were young.

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