Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:40 pm 
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Two teenage girls struggle through their dysfunctional parents' affair and an unplanned pregnancy

This directorial debut by new Korean director (and previously well-known actor) Kim Yoon-seok confronts adultery and the results of an unplanned pregnancy mainly (but not exclusively) from the point of view of two teenage girls "caught in the crossfire." They are not friends, but go to the same school. When the daughter of the woman who has become pregnant by the other girl's father Ju-ri (Kim Hye-jun) finds out about it, she gets in touch with Yoon-ah (Park Se-jin), the adulterous man's daughter.

Ju-ri's married father Kwon Dae-won (played by directorKim himself) is having an affair with Yoon-ah's single mother Kim Mi-hee (Kim So-jin), who owns and runs a restaurant specializing in duck. After she's found out what's happening by spotting her father with Kim Mi-hee , Jun-ri snatches her phone from Yooh-ah to tell Yooh-ah's mother, Yeong-ju (Yum Jung-ah), about the affair.

This may momentarily suggest an alliance of wronged children, but note that it starts with a provocative gesture, and that the two girls were not friends to start with. Since the two girls represent, as it were, different interests in the affair, hostility develops off and on, till there is an alliance again after events have gone badly for the parents. It takes time and events for a sympathy to develop. No one seems to seek help. No collective wisdom comes into play, including, except for one confession scene with Yeong-ju, the church.

Kim Mi-hee decides to have the baby, meaning Yoon-ah is going to have a (much younger) sibling (the girls are around 17). But then Yu-ri's mother Yeong-ju (Yum Jung-ah) has a violent run-in with Mi-hi that seems to precipitate a premature birth. At first the girls become excited by the idea of the baby, a boy, kept in an incubator, but the boy does not survive. As this goes on Dae-won's marriage and his career as well seem to disintegrate, but he doesn't agree to see the mother again.

I think Yoon Min-sik, who wrote about this film forThe Korea Herald, is right when she says of the younger actresses playing the daughters that "the chemistry is incredibly good and believable and that director Kim keeps Dae-won from becoming "a generic slimy bastard." However I had trouble getting any foothold on the action. It doesn't seem that Yoon min-sik's defense that the film "is not about what the characters are going to do or what is going on in the story, but their experience and how it affects their lives" quite makes sense. We in the audience have to deal with what happens in the film. (Yoon grants that the film "may not have the strongest story" and lacks catharsis.) And the final gesture with the baby's ashes, in he moment depicted in the picture above, seemed extremely strange and in vary dubious taste, the girls' sudden hilarity arrived at far too quickly. There are good moments here, and numerous encounters between people where sparks fly. But more work is needed next time from actor turned director Kim in the script and editing departments.

Another Child 미성년, 96 mins., debuted 11 Apr. 2019 in Korea; opening 4 July in Singapore. Screened for this review as part of the NYAFF.
NYAFF Showtime:
Thursday, July 11
8:30 PM

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