Movies Reflect on Contemporary Fathers

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

There have been many films that have shed light on motherly love such as "Running Boy" ("Marathon" - 2005), "Herb" (2006) and "Sunflower" (2007), where single mothers raised their children overcoming hardships.

Now it's the fathers' turn. This spring, local filmmakers are paying a particular attention to fathers, as many new films portray the contemporary father.

At the box office, the audience can choose from a range of films that center on fatherly love. These fathers have different jobs according to their social class. But what they share in common is, of course, the devotion and affection they have for their family.

"Meet Mr. Daddy" ("Shiny Day" - at theaters)

Directed by Park Kwang-soo, the film is a story of a man who learns about fatherly love, something he never experienced as a child himself.

Jong-dae is a ruthless and selfish man. One day, after a fight, he is placed in a police cell. He receives a visitor, a former love.

She tells him that he is the father of her child and she pays the fine to get him out of jail on the condition that he will spend one month with the child.

The father first finds it irritating to live with his seven-year-old daughter, who is just happy to see her father for the first time. Through her, he opens his heart and recognizes how adorable she is as she helps him learn about true love.

But a tragic moment strikes as he finds out that she has a terminal illness and a short time to live.

Actor Park Shin-yang, who is back after starring in the 2004 thriller "The Big Swindle", said it was hard to express the change that his character goes through from a selfish man to a devoted father.

"My character has this exaggerated personality. He is strong, sensitive and ruthless. But he is changed through his daughter",Park said.

In "Bunt", a father does everything he can to stop his son with a low IQ being sent to a special institute, and to keep him in a regular elementary school.

"Bunt" (on April 26)

Directed by Park Gyoo-tae, the film is a story of an 11-year-Old Boy with the intelligence quotient (IQ) of 60. The young boy is on the verge of being expelled from his elementary school and sent to a special institute.

In the film, Dong-gu is the happiest boy in the world living with his father, who takes the best care of his son. The father's only dream is to see his son graduate from his elementary school. But because of his low IQ, he is forced to go to a special institute.

The father finds out that the only way to keep him at school is for him to join the school's baseball team and begins training him as a baseball player.

"This is the first film that I can see with my own little son, and I hope many will find the true value of this film", actor Jung Jin-young, who plays the father in "Bunt", told reporters last week after a preview screening of the film.

The film is not an artificial tearjerker and it doesn't try to distort reality, it's more about the mixture of the innocence of a boy and the hardships of a father, he said.

"My Son" (May 1)

Directed by Jang Jin, the film is a story about a man serving a life sentence who gets one day outside of jail for the first time in 15 years to meet his son.

Although it sounds like tearjerker, the director Jang put his peculiar sense of humor and elements of fun in the film as he is known for in his previous works.

Actors Cha Seung-won and Ryu Deok-hwan play the father and son, respectively, and the director's father also makes a short cameo in the film.

Well known for his comic characters such as in his latest "Small Town Rivals", Cha said it was a challenge to play the serious role in this movie. He said his experience as a father helped a lot in learning the character. The 36-year-old actor has a teenage son in real life, having married in his early 20s.

"Long Day's Journey into Night" (May 1)

Directed by Shim Kwang-jin, the film is a story of a strange family reunion.

In the film, old widower Mr.Lee plans a family reunion on the third anniversary of his wife's death. He soon realizes that it will be much tougher than he thought.

His eldest son goes through a scandalous divorce, his daughter is tied up in a car accident, and the youngest son has been missing for years after declaring bankruptcy.

The film explores the theme of "every family has their own secrets" and it attempts to surprise the audience with its twisty ending.

"My Father" (in production)

The film is a story of a Korean boy adopted into an American family, who returns to his home country in a hope to find his biological father. When he finally meets him, his father is in prison facing the death penalty.

The nation's heartthrob Daniel Henney plays an adoptee, who joins the U.S army stationed in Seoul after he is adopted into an American family at age five.

Henney told reporters last month during a news conference that he doesn't know exactly how an adoptee would feel, but when he was young, he also had the problem of learning about who he was. He said he missed the country his mother came from.

The actor was born to a Korean mother and an English father. The American actor said one of the hardest parts was to pretend that he was clumsy in Korean, as his Korean has improved since starring in several Korean television dramas and a film.
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