(Korean Movies) Mother, 2009

Mother, 2009

Mother, 2009
Youth not allowed
running time
128 minutes
cumulative audience
2982025 people
31st Boston Film Critics Association Awards 2010


A mother who works at a local drugstore and lives alone with her son. (Kim Hye-ja).
To her, her son, Do-jun, is like the whole world. twenty eight. Do-jun (played by Won Bin). For his age, he can't take care of himself. One day, a girl is murdered and Do-jun is absurdly accused of being the culprit. A mother runs all over the place to save her son. However, the police quickly close the case, and the incompetent lawyer reveals only the money. In the end, the mother sets out to find the culprit without anyone to trust in order to save her son. As Do-jun's allegations harden, so does his mother's desperation.

Don't trust anyone… Mom will save you…


Everyone has a mother, and everyone has an idea for a mother. The sweetest, the most cuddly, or the most disgusting. Several emotions are intertwined. It is a very familiar yet strong existence, and perhaps the most primitive of human relationships are mothers and sons. To see how far such a mother can run wild in the cinematic world, there have been many novels, movies, and dramas under the name of mother, but I wanted to go to the extreme. I wanted to do a film that delves into the hottest and most intense part, the core of the hottest heat even in a fireball. In that sense, <Mother> is a new challenge for me as a film. The previous works were stories that spread everything. When a murder case comes out, the story of the 80s and the country comes out, when a monster comes out, a family comes out, Korean society comes out, and the United States comes out. Although it deals with the boring and mundane subject matter of being a mother, I want it to be a new film, and I hope that it will be accepted by the audience as a familiar yet very unfamiliar new film.

– Director Bong Joon-ho

[ About Movie ]

Origin and destination of <Mother> – Actress, Kim Hye-ja
<Mother> is a film that started with one actor. A middle-aged actress with 47 years of experience. Hyeja Kim. To Koreans, he is not an individual, but a 'mother' itself, a kind of icon. However, director Bong Joon-ho saw a different side from him, who had perfected his acting skills, including the spirit of love and sacrifice, and the virtues universally required of a mother. The hysterical energy and sensitivity that was in her but no one had seen. The story of <Mother> was conceived for an intense and destructive appearance that was not given a chance to be shown in a TV drama. <Mother> uses Kim Hye-ja's slender body and the dissonance or imbalance created by the nuclear bomb-like explosive power within it as the core of the cinematic motif that will attract the audience. Actress Kim Hye-ja, who has never met in her lifetime, has finally met a kind of good game or playground where she can use even the negative energy inside her, directed by Bong Joon-ho. <Mother> promises a rare experience in our lifetime, watching the lifetime performance of a master who has always been an actor since he passed the age of 70, before his eyes.

The story of a new mother that no one could have imagined <Mother>
Director Bong Joon-ho's films have deliberately ignored or twisted the conventions of the genre while borrowing the characteristics of the genre. As a result, he formed a welcome preconceived notion in Korean audiences that his films are unconditionally new and interesting, regardless of the unique virtues of a particular genre. <Mother> also does not deviate from its predecessors, such as a comprehensive gift set of cinematic fun. A solid drama, a corps of characters with personality and charm, humor right after the suspense, etc. However, unlike the previous works, which had the scale of a monster genre or a true story where the reality of Korea deepens the story behind the drama, this movie only has 'Mom' and his heartfelt 'strife'. Rather than focusing on the dramaticness of the incident itself, the focus is on the psychology and behavior of 'mom', who was driven to the extreme. It focuses on the inner spectacle rather than the external scale, and drives the 'mother's struggle' to the end, allowing the audience to participate in the contours of that emotion. <Mother> is an honest drama that fiercely unfolds the story that can arise from the original existence of 'mother', like a magnifying glass that collects the sun's heat and burns it as the director said. A fastball, not a changing ball, that puts genre power on its back to Korean audiences who have become insensitive to the reality of serial killers that are more cinematic than movies. We are looking forward to how the honest drama <Mother> will be received, which is a familiar existence, facing the mother head-on.

Cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo of <Taegeukgi Flying>, music director Lee Byeong-woo of <Monster> and production designer Ryu Seong-hee of <Oldboy>- Created <Mother>, a credit representing the talent of Korean cinema.
The credits for <Mother> are Korean films with a new narrative and power based on a frame-breaking imagination. It is full of talents representing the dynamic present tense. Barunson, the producer of <Hansel and Gretel>, a dark fantasy that uniquely twists a fairy tale, and <Nom Nom Nom>, which showed the pinnacle of Korean entertainment within the framework of the Western world, <Sweet Life> and <Oldboy>, <Monster>, <Bat> Seong-hee Ryu, the production designer who created the space, and Byeong-woo Lee, the music director who has created impressive melodies that are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of movies with a special feeling from <Janghwa, Hongryeon> to <Monster>. And the cinematographer, who will show a wide and delicate screen shot with an anamorphic lens that expands the emotions of the characters to the extreme, Hong Kyung-pyo, who was responsible for the light and color of films with a variety of genres and scales, from <Save the Earth> to <Siwol Ae>. <Mother> is a film made by the staff who are leading Korean cinema today with all their talents and souls. How far the creative power of Korean cinema can reach, the current state of its potential is <Mother>.

[ Production Note ]

South Korea's meandering, hunting & location campaign- The village of Hyeja in <Mother> gathered like a puzzle
Korean land is not large. For a realistic sense of presence, there were no major concerns about the director's suggestion to go to most locations. Ordering was also simple at first glance. It seems to be everywhere in Korea, but it does not give off a strong regional color, so there will not be a sense of alienation when combined into one village. In addition, it should be able to perform the role that should be performed by each space such as a police station, a bar, and a golf course. However, it was not as easy as I thought to find and merge every nook and cranny of a village that could be found anywhere on the border between cities and rural areas in Korea. The hunting team divided into 8 groups across the country went through the entire country as if scanning the country, with 80,000 km of each vehicle and 40,000 hunting photos for 20 weeks before filming. Using the 'image story' drawn by the director, the individual spaces were found, and the 'village of Hyeja' map was placed in consideration of the height of the year that changes with the seasons, the flow of emotions, and the convenience of movement. As in Korea, where the entire country is always under construction, accidents in which the space that was optimal at the time of hunting has been repainted at the time of filming is also uncommon. As a separate hunting team had to be operated throughout the filming, the devotion that <Mother> put into the space was as good as the casting. As a result, <Mother> is an extremely Korean-style film that does not show up like a mother who works at a drugstore somewhere in Iksan, visits a police station in Jeolla-do as a guardian of Do-Jun-I, who bought it at a golf course in Yongpyong, and meets a lawyer at a buffet restaurant in Gyeongju. Obtained 'Hyeja Village'.

I look at acting skills and naturalness. Realistic casting of ensemble priority <Mother>
The biggest characteristic of the characters in director Bong Joon-ho's films is their naturalness as if they were wearing long-wearing clothes. <Mother> was also no different, and the key characters in the main and supporting roles were already in place from the script. Kim Hye-ja, who plays mother Hye-ja, and Won-bin's real name and misspelled son Do-jun, the owner of the photo studio (Jeon Mi-seon 扮) was Mi-seon from the beginning, and the male detective was also Je-mun (Yoon Je-moon 扮) from the start, and Jin-tae, Do-jun's friend, was Jin-goo. Even if the roles were not written with actors in advance, we first looked for actors who had an image suitable for the overall flow of the film. As part of an effort to make the role naturally accepted by the audience first, rather than the actor, it gave priority to actors who had not been seen in the mass media, but with proven acting skills. Even when a new face was needed like the village girls, the production team took a different approach from other films. We auditioned by excluding actors who had signs of plastic surgery in the profile photos of each agency or whose efforts to look pretty were read. <Mother> will be recorded as a feature film debut for several 'good acting' actors. <Mother> is a film densely crafted by actors with a natural presence that makes it hard to look back even if you pass by in a space where you can be anywhere. The story is dramatic, but the characters in the drama do not stand out in a different color, promising the fun of an ensemble drama that comes from the strong background color unique to Bong Joon-ho's films.

The visual of <Mother> that delicately focuses on the reality of 'Mother's Fight'
In <Mother>, it is not easy to distinguish between a location and a set. It's hard to find pretty clothes. The grievances of production designers and costume designers also begin at that point. Rather than striking art or costumes that the audience wants to wear, we had to design a space that seems to be everywhere in Korea, and clothes that are no different from the actual clothes worn by rural wives. Of course, it was necessary to create an image of the character and create an atmosphere for the play. In the end, for the sake of reality, the costume team traveled around the country to get the shoes actually worn by the residents, and as an extension of that, they designed the costumes for the characters and captured the emotional flow with color variations within the limit of not popping. As a result of these various efforts, in the case of Hye-ja’s medicine store made somewhere in Jeolla-do, a tailor shop and a photo studio next to it, and an abandoned house built in a neighborhood in Busan, even though it was definitely a new building, the villagers asked the filming team, ‘Who is that house originally? Is this a house?' Obviously, the art and costumes of <Mother> are far from the glamor and style that you would love in various movies. However, it serves essentially faithfully to its original mission of creating the air in the film that the character and the audience feel and breathe at the same time.

Using anamorphic lenses for the first time in Korea, <Mother> shows the emotions and situations of the characters in a wide range
<Mother>, which focuses on 'Mother's Fight' and the drama that occurs in the process, also made a unique choice for filming. The first to use anamorphic lenses in Korea. It is presented with a wide aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Regarding the reason for choosing the anamorphic lens, which was mainly used for the large-scale screens of classic films such as <Lawrence of Arabia> because the amount of information captured by the lens is excellent, director Bong Joon-ho said, '<The Monster> went 1.85:1. The reason I felt that 2.35:1 was a more appropriate choice for <Mother> is that when a person enters the screen, the background behind the person is wide and the components of the screen such as surrounding people can be seen in more detail. So, the situation of the character can more easily get into the eyes of the audience. Conversely, in a close-up that focuses on the character's expression, it has the advantage of being able to delicately and appealingly show the emotions of a mother who is isolated from the world, such as anxiety and hysteria." The first principle of <Mother> production, which is in line with the reason why they put a lot of effort into location hunting and casting. That is, all elements of the film must work together so that 'Mother's Fight' can be remembered most conspicuously and prominently.

[ Hot Issue ]

<Mother> premiered at Cannes Film Festival 'Notable Gaze'-
Director Bong Joon-ho's peek into 'Mother' and Kim Hye-ja. Move the heart of the world!

<Mother> was invited to the official 'Remarkable Eyes' of the Cannes Film Festival on April 23rd, during post-production. Second in the same section following TOKYO! last year. Unlike director Bong Joon-ho, who was in the third Cannes after 'Director's Week' of 'Monster', it was the first Cannes experience for Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, and Jin-goo. However, they had to spend the first Cannes quite heartily due to the favorable reviews and interview offers for <Mother> that poured in immediately after the screening. From AFP's blatant headline, "Victory in Korea's 'Mother's' story box", the screen goes on to say, "Bong Joon-ho is a versatile young writer who leads melodramas like Hitchcock mystery and Almodovar-style opera, Kim Hye-ja's face is astonishing with sadness and anger The film boasts full of expressive power.” The Hollywood Reporter commented, “Bong Joon-ho’s ‘masterpiece’ <Mother> focuses on one character with a breathtaking intensity to look into the primordial qualities of motherhood. Still, the film is also an outstanding murder mystery with fast and intense twists that lurk at the right time.” Variety's mention of "Even though the Cannes Film Festival did not unfairly call this film into the competition section, the audience will warmly welcome this film", also took a completely new approach to the universal subject of 'Mother' in <Mother>. , a solid narrative created without the power of a macro-frame, such as the historical implications of previous films, and the intensity of the drama that drove everything into a mother, the overseas response to director Bong's new film was more than favorable. In particular, the reaction close to praise for an elderly actress, a stranger Kim Hye-ja, lets the audience know in advance that the new continent that director Bong Joon-ho wanted to draw from him has arrived safely.

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