‘Family Affair’ delves into meaning of family
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. ”
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.