A Mere Life

A Mere Life
Film info

2012. Directed by Park Sang-hun , starring Kim Min-hyuk, Jang Liu, Jeon Yeong-woon, Jeong Min-joon, Jeong Jin-ok , 76 mins.

This is what the Germans call a Trauerarbeit: a work born of infinite sadness. It shares characteristics with films by Bela Tarr, but still seems quintessentially Korean. Park Ilrae (whose name ironically means “change”) has a family but no prospects. He and his wife Han Yurim are estranged from their parents, so they have no-one to turn to for help with cash or with minding their son Yeongsu. She has a McJob in a crummy convenience store; he drinks too much and is one day swindled out of his meagre savings. In meticulous images and sounds which acknowledge a Buddhist perspective, the film explores Park’s karmic downfall.

Tony Rayns

Picturehouse Central, 14 Nov 16 7:00 pm

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