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|Young Feminist Forum (11)||Korean Cinema Retrospective: Confessing Women (4)|
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All the world’s daughters are mothers’ daughters and all daughters desire to find the haven of heaven in their mothers. However what if a mother, ‘fanatical’ about church, neglects her daughter in real life and goes about pronoucing that there is a heaven somewhere else? Futhermore, what if she challenges her identity as mother and daughter-in-law, searching for fulfillment in Christianity instead and as a result causes conflict within the family?
Umma is an affectionate but unflinching portrayal of one such woman, the director’s mother. As she turns the camera on her mother’s rage, hopelessness, self-abasement, and conflict with other family members, the director begins to muse whether her mother’s attachment to church might in fact be a struggle to restore her ruined self-esteem. Her mother seeks her reward in Christianity, using spirituality to escape from the powerlessness of a life constrained by housekeeping duties, marriage and motherhood. After her husband dies, however, fissures appear in the oppressive power dynamics and myths of motherhood on which family relationships have been based so far. Her heart begins to open and she starts to construct a house for her own spirit in her mind.
By her side, the director watches over her mother’s spiritual and emotional journey, opening up a dialogue in the process. At its core, the journey in search for a mother becomes the director’s journey towards the meaning of a woman’s life in Korean society. (Byun Jai-ran)
Joung Ho-hyunJoung Ho-hyun
Born in 1972, Joung Ho-hyun graduated from Konkuk University with B.A. in Geology. She also attended the documentary-making workshop of Hankyoreh Cultural Center and received her master’s degree on Film and Video from York University in Toronto, Canada. Her first feature documentary film Extremely Ordinary (1999) was screened at many film festivals including the 1st Jeonju and the Yamagata Int’l Documentary Film Festival in 1999. Her filmography includes Women in Festive Season (2000), Homesickness (2002) and Joung Family Girls (2003).