Monday, March 2, 2009

Old Partner/ Movie Review

If English is really your only language here in Korea, even though you know some Korean, then when you want to go see a movie your choices are limited.

Thankfully the movie theater vendors have been showing western movies in English (with Korean subtitles) and some Korean movies with English subtitles.

But any expat will tell you that figuring out where and when a Korean movie with English subtitles is playing can be tricky.

The one resource I have found to help me has been the Korea4Expats website listing the movies this week in Seoul.

Through this site I was able to figure out what BK was talking about when he suggested the movie Old Partner.

I was excited to see this movie for several reasons. One it is a documentary and I love this genre of film. I often say to myself that Expats here in Korea need to make a raw documentary of their experiences so to spread awareness of what our lives are like here. Another reason was that it was a documentary featuring an aspect of Korea. So here for you is my review of the film.

Old Partner:
Korean title: 워낭소리 (Won-nang-so-ri)
The first South Korean film to compete at the Sundance Film Festivel, this documentary is about an elderly farmer Choi and his cow, which ages with him. Even though the old cow can't help him as before, the cow is still his best helper and best friend. One day, a doctor diagnoses the cow with cancer, and they only have one year left together.

It is a raw and vibrant movie about an old couple and their very old ox. They are farmers and farm in the traditional way (no pesticides and no machines). Relying on his old Ox to pull him around the farm, you see how the man and the beast are reliant on each other. The story captures your heart and tickles your funny bones. As his old wife makes complaint after complaint that the Ox is the cause for all her suffering.

What is best about this film is that you get an acute snapshot of Korean rural farming life. The sounds and sites that pass by during the seasons are engulfing. With the couple's 9 children living off in the city they are seen alone in their simple home battling the problems of old age.

All I have to say is that you have to get yourself out there and see this movie. It will give you a wide eyed look into the hardworking nature of the Korean farming people. Also you can see that these people have huge hearts. Sitting in the theater you could hear the Ahjummas gasping at certain scenes and at the end even hear some people sniffling.

Either way it is a refreshing sight to see amongst all the hollywood mish-mash that is at the theaters these days.

Therefore I highly recommend seeing, renting our buying this film.

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