The Way Home (Jibeuro)
Written and Directed dy Lee Jung-hyang , Lance W. Dreesen
A mother just after the divorce from her husband decides to drop her seven year old son with his grandmother in a remote hillside village, to be free from all tensions and to get everything settle out there. Grandmother who is very old and her health condition also weak, cannot speak either. Sang-woo, son who is obsessed with toys and games, avoid and give no care for his grandmother and spent time with his video game. One day when the batteries is over, he moves to near town to get a new pair but he gets lost from the track and can’t able to return to the house. Two kids het met on the way helps him to find his grandmother’s house. He slowly starts to involve with the grandmother’s day today work, he feels the value of the relation with the grandmother.
The film is heart-breaking at the same time cheering. The Way Home is a sweet Korean film telling a very simple one-line story in a rather simple way, very slowly and still touching. The movie comes in the lines of Children of Heaven and Shoeshine. Relationship between the grandmother and the kid gives an amazing depth to the movie.
Performance: The kid is convincing though at times goes overbroad. Kim Eul-bun, the grandmother a fresh face at the age of late 80s (I guess), her wrinkled face wordlessly showing the pain and happiness is classy. The direction of movie clearly reminded that of Majid Majidi, so simple yet so hard-hitting.
Cinematography without much extra coloring, capturing the very natural surroundings is splendid.
Few unforgettable scenes:
• Even though grandmother couldn’t understand what he was asking, when he ask for KFC, she goes all the way to town in the rain to get chicken and prepares for her grandson. The kid blindly rejects the chicken since it’s not KFC. Her face expression at that time is praiseworthy.
• The grandmother wiping tears, the day before the final day.
• The episode – the kid teaching grandmother to write ‘I am sick’ and ‘I miss you’.
• The finale scene when the cab is about to leave, grandmother eagerly look the kid for a word or at-least an eye-contact.
Ending: The image of grandmother walking slowly towards her house, after the kid leaving with his mother is so touching and can bring tears from the hardest of hearts. It’s a long shot which eventually showing the loneliness she is going to feel then after.
I assure you will feel hard to forget the compelling performance of grandmother.
• This is a film which few people might feel boring and the rest of the viewers will be so moved and enlightened, few won’t understand the feel, and the rest will be searching for the kerchief.
Very near to our life, the way home
Rating: 5 / 5