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JK YOUN’s ODE TO MY FATHER Invited to 65th Berlinale
Dec 17, 2014
- Writerby June Kim
Korean “Modern History” and “National Trauma” to Be Introduced in Panorama
Announced on December 16th, the Berlin International Film Festival confirmed 19 films for its Panorama section. This section which is focusing on 'Probing the Past to Shape the Future' for 2015 invited eleven features and eight documentaries, where JK YOUN’s most recent epic Ode to My Father made the cut.
Last year, the only Korean film in Panorama was LEESONG Hee-il's Night Flight. Another film by the director, White Night (2013), was invited the year before. 2013 had a few more Korean titles along with LEESONG's film such as Behind the Camera, Jury, and Fatal.The very first Korean film to ever be invited to Panorama was in 1961 with DAE Jin-kang's Mabu.
Labeled by Panorama Head Wieland Speck as Korean ‘modern history’ and ‘national trauma’, Ode to My Father takes a journey through the life of a single man who lives through major contemporary Korean history milestones. From the hardships of the Korean War, to working in Germany’s grim coal mines, to the Vietnam War, the man struggles to support his family despite all his hurdles. Relying on the strong attachment of Korean society towards family ties and the unfortunate fate of the breadwinner, YOUN draws out local tastes while focusing on the universal language of love and loyalty. With strong star casting that includes HWANG Jung-min (A Good Lawyer’s Wife , You Are My Sunshine ) and the Lost TV series actress KIM Yun-jin, the film has high expectations in the local market and is hoping to hit 10 million admissions. The film opens today in Korea.
The move to Germany to work in a coal mine stems from the historical fact that Korea was lacking jobs during the 60s to the 80s. Men went through rigorous interviews to be hired at mines and women went abroad to work as assistant nurses. Despite the harshness of the work and the hardship of moving to a new country, many volunteered in order to make a living. This historical event was reflected in the film, and the portrayal of Germany of that time from the perspective of the Korean worker might be an interesting take for German audiences.
Another East Asian title in Panorama announced in the release is none other than Taiwanese film by director Doze Che-Zer Niu, Paradise in Service which had its international premiere at the 2014 Busan International Film Festival as the opening film. Both Ode to My Father and Paradise in Service were influenced by the directors’ personal lives and their fathers.
For the moment, Berlin has announced parts of its Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Generation and Competition sections as well. The full list of films should be released in the coming weeks. The Berlin International Film Festival runs from February 5th to the 15th next year.