Sunday, February 6, 2011

Haunting Korean film A Brand New life on SBS 2

On Saturday night I watched the Korean-French film A Brand New Life on SBS 2 and was reminded of the power and pathos of cinema.

This is one of the most affecting and moving films I have seen for ages, with haunting performances by the female actor who plays the 9 year old main character and the other child actors. These are remarkable performances by such a young cast.  In 2009 the film won the award for best film at the Tokyo International Film Festival and was acclaimed at Cannes, Toronto and Berlin Film festivals.

Based on the childhood experiences of Korean-French film Director Ounie Lecomte,  A Brand New Life tells the story of 9 year old Korean girl Jinhee who is abandoned by her father in a Korean orphange in 1975.

The film tells of Jinhee's struggle within the confines of the orphanage and her steadfast belief that her father will return for her. As the seasons pass we see the main character develop friendships with the other children and the orphanage staff and nuns. However, those friendships are shattered as children leave the orphanage for adoptions by overseas families. Eventually Jinhee is adopted as well, and the film closes with her arriving at an airport in the country of her adoption.

The film tells a story that is painful for many Koreans. Since the Korean War (1950-53) it is estimated that some 200,000 Korean children have been adopted in overseas countries.

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