The word ‘koryu’ can mean staying and living in someone else’s country; or residing, death and life. Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea is a documentary about women who started out on, or could not start out on, the road for historical, social reasons or personal reasons, or who are still on the road making small movements and noises.
Women who live or lived in different times and places appear in this film to make up its various parts. The director’s grandmother, talented in writing, goes to Go-sung on the South Sea after her husband defects to North Korea. Through her experience of migration, she meets a bilingual Chinese restaurant lady, Yu Seungah of Heukbak Dabang, a tea room in Jinhae, Lee Younjung who migrates from Guro to the South Sea to make a film and attend a film festival. This film follows women living in South Korea but it overcomes geographical limits and exists in the boundaries of cultures and areas of numerous migrations and experiences.
Director soha follows their traces, lines of movement, and sounds, asking if this ‘koryu’ itself is not a way to present women’s lives. In addition, their movements are interwoven in certain periods of modern and contemporary Korean-Japanese colonialism, the Korean War, and the rapid modernization process. This film shows women’s movements in spaces that seem like little holes they have made by expressing their lives under the oppressive order added of Confucian patriarchy. Thus Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea is a quest for traces of women’s “miniscule and trivial” movements and the writing of them in history, as well as a search for a time and place and mode of expression for women.
In the opposite direction of certain impulses of the digital camera that tries to grasp reality in the rough and brilliant movement, Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea endeavors to find the potential of the digital camera as a inexpensive, mobile, and easily-adaptable medium, depicting women’s way of life with multi-aural, multi-lingual sounds and overlapping movements in images of passages and immobile images that pitch and roll inwardly. (Kwon Eun-Sun)
KIM SoyoungKIM Soyoung
KIM Soyoung is a Cinema Studies professor at the Korean National University of Arts and a feminist film critic. She was a founding member of Women Filmmakers’ Collective ‘Parituh’ as well as a member of the first graduating class of the Korean Academy of Film Arts. Recently she completed the Women’s History Trilogy which is composed of Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea (2000), I’ll Be Seeing Her (2002) and new woman: her first song (2004).