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Tuesday, March 24 @ 7:00 pm
Kazoku no kuni (100 min) (2012)
2012 Berlin International Film Festival – C.I.C.A.E Award
Shown in Japanese, with English sub-titles
Cast: SAKURA ANDO, ARATA IURA, Ik-june yang
Director: yonghi yang
One hot summer day, Rie, a 31- year-old second-generation Korean born and raised in Japan was looking forward to her brother Sungho's return. Sungho, 10 years her senior, had relocated to North Korea in the 1970's under the "repatriation program" but had attained special permission to return to Japan for three months to seek medical treatment, his first time setting foot in his hometown in 25 years. To welcome her long lost son home, his mother prepares all of his favorite dishes from when the man was a child. The night that the family reunites, Rie witnesses just how difficult life in North Korea has been for her brother.
The time allowed for Sungho in Japan is limited. He had medical tests to undergo and gifts to buy for his son back home in North Korea. The hospital is equipped with all of the modern medical technologies, and the town in which he grew up now looks drastically different. One after another, the sights Sungho takes in are surprising to him.
A highlight of the trip was to be his reunion with the friends, and his first love, which he left behind when he was just 16. Their first reunion in 25 years, they gather to welcome their friend who "headed North," back home. The gathering brings up mixed emotions among the friends.
In fact, Yang, a surveillance agent from North Korea had demanded of Sungho that he give his beloved sister Rie a "job" to take care of. When he approaches Rie with this "job," his father overhears his son talking. When his father reprimands Sungho for what he had done, Sungho becomes extremely emotional. And finally, they find out the results of his medical tests…
Will the family and friends be able to make up for the 25 years' lost time?
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
Drama on Ethnic Koreans' Plight Selected for Showing at Oscars (The Asahi Shimbun) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/cool_japan/movies/AJ201209140043
“It’s difficult to remain unaffected by the story’s emotional components. But the director doesn’t place her emphasis on melodrama, being simply interested in two people handed radically different life perspectives by the course of history.” (Berlinale Film File) https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2012/02_programm_2
To Tokyo from North Korea: A Harsh Homecoming (The Japan Times) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2012/07/27/films/film-reviews/kazoku-no-kuni-our-homeland/#.VPDOgC6aXbc
Director Yang Yonghi Depicts a Bittersweet Family Reunion (Tokyo Time-Out) http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/feature/6015/Our-Homeland-Kazoku-no-Kuni