BIFF’s closing film gets theater release

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Jan 5, 2014 - 19:18
  • Updated : Jan 5, 2014 - 19:18
A scene from “The Dinner” (Indiestory)

“The Dinner,” the closing film of last year’s Busan International Film Festival, is finally hitting theaters this month, according to its distributor IndieStory.

Directed by Kim Dong-hyun, the film is a drama about an ordinary Korean family facing a series of financial and other misfortunes. It was screened as a world premiere during BIFF last year.

The film features an old married couple, who are financially dependent on their children. Yet all of their children have their own problems, often finding it difficult to make ends meet.

In-cheol, the couple’s eldest son, recently lost his job. Their second child, Gyeong-jin, is a divorcee who raises her autistic son alone. And their youngest son, In-ho, is a recent university graduate, who works as a contract worker and a truck driver after failing to secure the job he wanted.

The plot of the film develops as In-ho gets into a car accident while driving his truck and Gyeong-jin’s chronic heart illness suddenly worsens.

At last year’s BIFF, the film received a standing ovation from its 5,000-member audience, becoming the first BIFF flick closer to receive such praise. Tickets for the screening were sold out in about three minutes. The film festival’s programmer Nam Dong-chul said director Kim had created a “new classic of family melodrama” with the movie.

Cho Kye-young, IndieStory’s marketing director, said one of the strengths of the film is that anyone of any age can relate to at least one of its characters.

“There is an old couple who cannot make ends meet without the financial support of their children,” Cho said.

“And their youngest son lives with his girlfriend, whom he loves, but cannot marry her because he’s got no money. He still has student loans to pay off. The couple’s daughter-in-law has some fertility problems. And we also see a working mom who is struggling. These are very real problems that are very often experienced by real people in real life.”

Kim Dong-hyun made his directorial debut in 1997 with his short “From Island.” His 2004 short “A Starving Day” won the top prize at the 30th Seoul International Film Festival in the same year. He also won the NETPAC award at BIFF in 2007 for his second feature film “Hello, Stranger.” “The Dinner” is his third feature film.

An IndieStory release, “The Dinner” opens in cinemas on Jan. 23.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)