Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea,
A Table for Two
Chae-yeong was hospitalized in a mental facility in 2008, at the age of thirteen, after losing more than 20 kg. Her mother, Sang-ok, first assumed that hospitalization and therapy would alleviate her daughter's ailments. However, upon her release, Chae-yeong’s symptoms shifted from under-eating to binge-eating. She continued to live for more than a decade with this habit of eating and vomiting, and she and her mother eventually avoided addressing the condition. Chae-yeong left home for Australia in 2019, abandoning her goal of healing in favor of a life where she could control her symptoms. In the meantime, Sang-ok sought to comprehend her daughter's confusing predicament by reflecting on her own past. Chae-yeong came home a year later as a result of the influence of COVID-19, and for the first time in over a decade, they began addressing the 'disease' that had long been a cause of silence.
Director Kim Bo-ram drew a lot of attention with her first feature documentary, For Vagina’s Sake (2017), as it was the first in Korea cinema to be entirely dedicated to menstruations, through an exploration of how these have been seen through the ages all over the world. It won several awards, including Best Documentary from the Seoul International Women Film Festival, and the New Vision Award from the Seoul Independent Film Festival. Kim started to work on this project in 2018 upon reading about the prevalence of eating disorders among teenagers and young adults. With this new film, she moves her attention to the relationship between a mother and a daughter, who she met while conducting interviews with dozens of women. The complicated feelings they have toward each other, which prompted the mother to question the relationship she had with her own mother, allowed Kim to suggest that the causes of such illness can be multiple and come in part from the society’s obsession with appearance and diets.