Gilsottum | Chicago Reader


Set in 1983, when rapprochement between North and South Korea permitted family reunions in both countries, this 1985 tearjerker concerns a happily married woman (Kim Ji-min, in a poignant and understated performance) who sees a photo on TV of a man who could be the illegitimate son she gave up during the war. After resolving to find him she encounters the boy's father, her childhood sweetheart, and under the assured and empathic direction of Im Kwon-taek their remembrances of an idyllic and later painful past are juxtaposed with news video of tearful reunions. The film takes an unexpected turn when the couple track down the man who claims to be their son, a boorish peasant with questionable motives, and the mother's ambivalent reaction to him, which leads to a devastating conclusion, shows how much the partitioning of Korea interrupted lives and perverted ideals. In Korean with subtitles. 105 min.

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