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Meaningful film that you may get an opportunity to be part of

Meaningful film that you may get an opportunity to be part of

Posted February. 09, 2024 07:34,   

Updated February. 09, 2024 07:34


Kim Yeong-ok was surprisingly in an upright posture, with her eyes still gleaming like stars. Who would believe that she is the oldest active actress in South Korea? Slogging her way down the stairs, she grumbled, but it was hardly heard. However, she was still so energetic with vigor that she could willingly come closer to check out what the question asked was about. She beamed when she talked about Lim Young-woong, her favorite singer.

Na Moon-hee started humming upon being seated for an interview, saying, “This melody suddenly came to mind when I was doing my hair.” The room brightened up immediately after her iconic laughter filled it in. Asked how she had been doing since her husband passed away last December, she recited the lyrics of Sim Soo-bong’s “One Million Roses,” saying, “Luckily, I have seen the flowers of pure love blossom with no hatred seated in my heart.”

Released on Wednesday, the film “Picnic” depicts old-age characters considering a dignified end to their life. Kim and Na, the two leading actresses in their 80s, play a key role in unfolding the film. The same day, they had an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo at a café in Jongno District, Seoul.

“It is more of a frank, peaceful narrative of what our life stories have been like rather than a mere film work,” said Kim. “What matters most is to stay fit and have yourself under control. This movie illustrates all the misery we will face when we get sick with little mobility.”

Kim stars as Geum-sun, who spends her life on farm work to support her family. Because of her painful waist, this aging lady finds it more challenging to raise and stand upright over time. Wearing an elegant hanbok, she is headed to Seoul to meet Eun-shim, played by Na, one of her old friends dating back to when they were 16 years old, as well as her in-law. The day when Eun-shim's son, who is financially struggling, comes to ask her to sell her house, the two old ladies come back to Namhae, where they spent their childhood and enjoyed a delightful time just as a picnic.

Na is meant for this movie, the screenplay of which was written by the wife of her manager, who has worked for her for more than 20 years. She willingly waited five years until Kim, her best friend, got ready to join the film. She went through bad times as well. While filming this movie last year, she saw her husband getting weaker when she stayed in Namhae and Busan. Seven months after the film shooting was over last December, he was laid to rest. She said, “Looking at my husband, I realized that we are not supposed to send anyone to a hell-like situation where this ailing guy is in bed like forever. I hope that there should be a breakaway from a hopeless condition without life-sustaining care provided.”

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com