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Film: Shim’s Family

Posted March. 01, 2007 08:00,   


“I’ve felt less pressured with this film compared to my previous work. Anyway, once I produce a new movie, it runs on its own,” said Jeong Yoon-cheol, director of the film Shim’s Family.

Jeong made his debut as a feature film director with the 2005 hit Malaton, which attracted an audience of five million, nationwide. Although he must have received many offers to direct big-budget films, he chose Shim’s Family, a well-scripted film with a modest budget of $2.3 million.

The story of the film revolves around Shim’s family members, who are callus and indifferent toward each other. A timid father, a foul-mouthed mother, a son tormented by his daring and mischievous girlfriend, a daughter wondering why her family live together without any strong bonds between them, and an unemployed spinster aunt, all live together under one roof. One day, the dysfunctional family is faced with an unexpected crisis.

The story of the movie is centered around these five “extra-ordinary” characters whose cynical yet brilliant remarks seem to always hit the nail on the head. The theme of the movie is, “Take it easy” – a remark frequently used by the impotent father to curb his wife’s sexual advances.

“The movie tells us not to bet everything on one another. When we try to understand others or make them understand us, or when we try to change them in an attempt to make them understand, we only fuel conflict and worsen the overall situation. “How can we understand other human beings? I cannot even understand myself,” Jeong added.

The far side of the moon is an important symbol in the movie. Although the moon orbits around the independently rotating earth, we cannot see it, as the earth and the moon share the same period of revolution. Therefore, although the earth and the moon are in close proximity, they can ever see only one side of each other. This is also true for the family members. However, when asked how much he resembled the family members in the movie, Jeong grinned and shook his head. “I tried to be like one of them while filming the movie,” he said.

Even if totally humiliating events are forced upon them, Shim’s family members do not get agitated or take the situation seriously. Although most people would lament such situations, thinking, “Why did this happen to me,” the director believes this to be the world as it has always been.

Jeong earned the nick name “technician,” due to his thorough manner of directing, which moved the emotions of audiences of his last film precisely according to his calculation. In fact, he dreamed of becoming a scientist when he was a child. But, in his final year of high school, he made the sudden decision to become a film director. Overcoming the disapproval of his father, Jeong went on to study a theater and film major at Hanyang University.

“I had conflict with my father because of my decision, but since he passed away I have grown to understand his views. Isn’t it wonderful to acknowledge the differences between ourselves and others?” Jeong said.