Director: Shim Hyejung
Cast: Kim Jonggu, Kang Aesim, Jeon Gukhyang, Kim Doyoung
Film genre: Drama
Cert 15, 110 mins, 2019
Distributed by Shim Hyejung
The seemingly idyllic domestic life of retired man Chang-sik (Kim Jonggu), of his bed-ridden wife Gil-soon (Kang Aesim), unable to speak after a stroke, and of her caretaker Sook-ok (Jeon Gukhyang), an undocumented Korean Chinese immigrant, starts tumbling down when Gilsoon develops a bedsore that refuses to heal. The tense situation throws Sook-ok’s precarious status into sharp relief as Chang-sik’s attempts to control her result both in violent outbursts and an awkward proposal. While the older couple’s adult children reprimand their father for crossing the boundaries and violating the caretaker’s dignity, they have their own bone to pick with each other.
As a festering bedsore on the suffering mother’s body opens old family wounds and grievances, Shim Hyejung’s strong debut feature makes us also think about the issues around the ethics of care for the elderly and the disabled, and the responsibilities we have as members of families and wider social networks.