“Ode to My Father” (국제시장)

In a review that ran in the New York Times, film critic Jeannette Catsoulis gave “Ode to My Father” a big thumbs down for being “syrupy” and for having “packaged pain … likely to leave Western audiences cold.” While there is no doubt that director Yoo Je-Kyoon would’ve loved for American audiences to embrace his movie, it’s also undeniable that this film was not made with Western moviegoers in mind. It was made for Koreans.

My mother’s memories

This memory made me think about Korean singer Insooni and Ronald Lewis, an American GI who befriended the biracial teenager when she was ostracized by Korean society. There was never anything romantic between the two. Lewis said he had experienced racism in the U.S., but hadn’t expected it in other countries. When he saw it happening to Insooni, he and his friends took her under their wings. They bought her food. They didn’t assume they could buy her. Are there men today who would still be this kind to a child?