Producer: Lee Tae-won
Ahn Sung-ki, Oh Jung-hae
Screenplay: Yuk Sang-hyo
Cinematography: Park Seung-bae
Music: Kim Su-cheol Editing: Park Sun-deok
Director: Im Kwon-Taek
The thing about senile dementia is
it allows one to relive
his or her past in reverse chronology.
40 years ago, asking for my dead father,
my old mother was reliving her days as a newlywed.
Fussing over her mother-in-law's supper,
she was reliving her days as a young daughter-in-law.
And, when she would wander off with her bundle,
she was once again a young girl from a distant forgotten time.
She was locked in the past, reliving her life.
Hey, mister! Have you seen my mother?
Has she wandered off again?
Yes. She's driving me crazy!
I think she was trying to return to her childhood home in Dokdo.
She could easily take the new land route,
but I think she only remembers
the sea route from the old days.
Thank you! Thank you so much!
- Take care of her. - I will.
What were you thinking? You can't keep doing this!
I want to go home.
A few years ago, a friend lost both his kidneys
and was searching for an organ donor.
He had eight siblings, two children and his mother.
22 kidneys in total,
and nobody was willing to offer him an organ.
My friend despaired over the grim reality.
Mom! Who is that woman?
Why is she butt naked in broad daylight?
At the time, I thought of my old mother
and felt ever so grateful for her sound health.
Parents, no matter how old they are, would gladly give not one,
but both their kidneys to their child.
They would give up all their organs in a heartbeat.
In any case, my elderly mother's good health puts my own lousy health,
plagued with smoke and alcohol to shame,
while also being a source of comfort and hope.
If my elderly mother could live such a long and healthy life,
I felt hopeful that I also had the same fate.
It's your mother.
It's 11:00. We'll be there by 7:00, at the latest.
What? Go to the bank and get some money.
You know how much. Withdraw everything.
You know they're depending on us.
Oh, and pick up Eun-ji from school.
Dad, is Grandma dead again?
Are we going to Gangneung?
I've been contributing every month,
so include a note of apology in the preface.
If you take over, I know I'll be in good hands.
Thanks and get Song Gyu-shik on the line.
Song, those pallbearers I was talking about.
Those good-for-nothing bunch of drunks.
They visit every summer to fish, and have met my mother.
So, they'll be good enough.
Call them and tell them they must arrive by tomorrow night.
It would be great if she woke up like last time.
But, what are the chances?
You make your way down. Don't tell the others, yet.
- Eunji? Eun-ji! - Yeah, dad?
How are you feeling right now?
I should be sad, but I'm not.
We're on our way to bury Grandma.
- Do you know what a funeral is? - Burying the dead?
That's only part of a funeral.
Hello? It's me. What? She woke up?
We tied her up over three hours ago.
She scared the living daylights out of everyone when she opened her eyes!
She's eaten some porridge. And, she's breathing loudly as well.
Don't be surprised if her memory comes back completely.
Who knows? She could be testing us
to see how we would react if she came back to life.
Who knows what's going on inside her head?
And, who's going to eat all that food?
Don't rush. Be careful driving and see you later.
Here comes Auntie Lee from Hampyeong.
My poor mother! My poor poor mother!
No, she's not dead!
Hi, uncle Jun-seop.
How's it going?
Can someone take Eun-ji? She's asleep.
Let's go in.
- You're here. - Good to see you!
We've been waiting.
Long drive, eh?
Must have come as a shock.
Guess where the party is tonight?
I have a feeling she's playing with us.
She's listening to every word.
Mother, Jun-seop is here.
It's me. Have you eaten anything?
We've already eaten, mister.
Eat something and feel free to stay over.
She doesn't even recognize her own son.
Maybe what she needs right now is something that will boost her stamina.
Are you kidding?
Her body will fight it. Don't you think?
Here's her obituary in the Honam daily. Must have been your friends in Seoul.
You know, I'm her daughter, but even I was hoping
that we might bury her this time. I can't imagine what you're thinking...
I know she woke up again,
but she won't have too long to live.
Take care of her until then.
Why don't you stay? You planning to drive to Gwangju this late?
- I have to go. - Get home safely.
- Take care. - Drive safely.
Eun-ji's grandma is 14 times Eun-ji's age.
Last spring, she had a big 70th birthday party.
She may be old,
but she loves Eun-ji even more than her mom
and even more than her dad.
Leave Grandma alone.
Leave her be.
She's just a child. Here you go.
To Eun-ji, there was one mystery she could not solve.
Although grandma was older than her parents,
and the most revered in the family,
she was smaller than her mom and dad.
After her 70th birthday celebration,
she became even smaller.
That's because you've been taking my age.
Grandma used to be taller than me or dad,
but ever since she became an adult,
she has been sharing her age with us and that's why she's smaller.
The reason why she keeps getting smaller
is when you were born,
she started to share her age with you as well.
Eun-ji was well aware that
when people grew older, they grew taller.
But, she had no idea that
her grandma has been sharing with her,
her own age.
She thought it was marvelous and felt grateful,
but she also felt a twinge of guilt, too.
I know it doesn't seem right, but we all grow up to be adults.
That's what Grandma wants for you.
As long as my Eun-ji grows up to be a fine young woman,
I don't mind sharing my age at all.
It would be my pleasure.
My days are coming to an end, while yours have just started.
Hearing those words, Eun-ji felt better.
She realized that she should be grateful
more than anything else and grow up to be a fine young woman.
- Mother! - Mom!
Sokgweng: Closing body cavity of the dead
Gobok, Chohon: Taking the coat of the deceased to the roof and calling out his or her name three times.
Ok-nam Kim of Hwangsan has passed away!
No, what I mean is,
she woke up and passed away again early this morning.
Sajasang: Offerings to the angel of death
Enjoy the feast and take my mother in one piece.
Little rascals! You hungry?
This meal is for the messengers of death who will guide Grandma on her last journey.
Not even the dogs will touch this meal.
Dad, the house is empty! Go back home.
Writing and sending off the obituary
We should call Baek-dong, too.
Mr. Kim from Achishil will direct the funeral.
Sae-mal here will usher the guests.
And, I have asked a close acquaintance
from Haenam to officiate the funeral.
But, we have our own funeral officiator.
Why would you ask someone from Haenam?
Let Jun-seop take care of everything.
Uncle Jun-seop, someone's on the phone.
Let's hope she's really dead this time.
Susi: Binding of the hands and feet of the deceased
Did you want to stay so badly?
My poor mother!
Balsang: Calling on the dead spirit and wailing to inform everyone of his or her death
In many of your books,
you mention your mother a lot.
So, I wanted to see her in person,
and see how your family sends her off for the final time.
Well, behave. Stay low key.
My boss flipped when I told him
I had to leave right before the deadline.
If I don't have a story, I'm dead.
I need everyone's cooperation.
Hello? Is this Mr. Hur?
Yes. Where are you?
Isn't the orchid painting in the dead woman's room done by that guy?
- He's a master calligrapher. - Who cares.
If you follow that road, you'll see a sign...
Get him to write something for you and you can make millions.
Yes, just follow that road. See you soon.
Fetch us some cooking oil!
Here they come.
Thanks for coming!
I can't believe she's gone!
Where's your husband?
Yes! Hey, Gyu-shik! What time are you getting here?
Give me a cigarette.
I can't believe!
- Recognize me? - How did you find out?
I guess I should thank my celebrity uncle.
I saw the obituary in the paper. Am I pathetic or what?
Why? Am I not welcome here?
You must be tired. Do you need help?
Nah, you got weak muscles.
If only I were ten years younger,
I wouldn't be making you work so hard.
Where is that heartless mother of yours anyway?
Leaving her only child to go pick tangerines in Jeju and not even a word...
She said she'd bring back a fortune to buy us a house.
Is that what she told you? Never in a million years.
A mother should take care of her own children.
Hey! What are you doing here?
She was the prettiest bride back then.
Fresh off the boat from Dokdo Island at the age of 17.
Such a beauty she was. The whole village fell in love with her.
And, not just a pretty face, either.
She was hardworking and was as strong as two farmhands put together.
But, life didn't treat her so kindly.
Three years into her marriage, her father-in-law passed away.
Two years later, her mother-in-law died.
And, all her playboy husband did was get her pregnant.
He never worked a day in his life so she had to.
To make things even worse,
fate threw another obstacle her way.
Her useless husband kicked the bucket,
leaving her to raise their seven children by herself,
and just when things seemed to look up a little, her eldest son gets into trouble.
So, drop five off in Wando, and the rest in Cheongsando, right?
Where are you headed?
I wonder if we could get a ride.
No, we're going far out today.
She resented him idling away his life and married him off early and what does he do?
He sells the family land to buy a boat with a friend
to deliver produce and fish to nearby islands.
But, those two loved women and booze too much.
Did you get the boat fare from that family the other day?
No, but I plan to this time.
You sure you didn't already spend it on you-know-what?
Yeah, I wish!
He soon lost his boat and his house,
and died, leaving his three children.
That woman with the bob is the eldest sibling from Gwangju, right?
And, that couple is from Hampyeong?
And, that's Su-nam from Gwangju with the skate?
And the man in the suit is also from Hampyeong?
That's right. He's their son.
We don't have all day!
I haven't seen you around. How do you know them so well?
Who's the sexy one over there?
I've never seen her before.
Looks like she's from Seoul.
Fancy, ain't she?
You don't recognize me, do you? It's me, Yong-sun.
The little girl nobody wanted once upon a time.
Yong-sun? How long has it been?
I don't believe this!
How dare she walk into this house with her head held so high?
You bring bad luck! Get out, you thief!
Thief? What's your problem? I'm not here to see you.
I came to say goodbye to my grandmother!
Get out! You're not wanted around here!
Don't you dare touch me!
I'm no longer that little girl you slaved around!
What did you say?
What's going on here? We're getting ready for a funeral!
- That's Yong-sun! - How is she related?
Jun-seop's dead older brother
knocked up some girl who gave birth to Yong-sun.
Father! Quit talking nonsense to this woman!
Come on! Enough's enough!
Myeongjeong: A flag bearing the name of the deceased and his or her
So, he's writing the abstract of Grandma's census register for her afterlife.
Is that what he's writing?
He really is a master calligrapher. He's good.
My name is Jang Hye-rim.
I'm a reporter for a magazine called The Age of Literature.
Have you ever read it?
I guess it's only popular among the literati.
I'd thought I knew everything about your uncle's family.
He writes about his family members a lot.
And, meeting them all in person,
I realize he was accurate about each and every one of them.
But, you came to me as a surprise.
Why has he never mentioned you once?
Why are you asking me that? Ask him.
Have you stolen anything?
I didn't steal anything.
I was practically their maid for ten years.
And, I paid every penny back, with interest.
After graduating from elementary school, all I did was work.
So I used a bit of my cousin's trust fund. What's the big deal?
All I wanted in life was to save up some money and live with Grandma.
Do you know the song 'Chilgapsan'?
Ju Byeong-seon sang it.
I know the song, but don't know the lyrics.
Dear maid on a pea patch,
your dress is drenched
with the sad tears you shed
with every seed you sow.
The day you wed, leaving your poor widowed mother behind
the mountain ridges of Chilgap...
I wanted to take Grandma to Seoul, and let her live comfortably.
Life's a bitch, then you die.
How about your mother?
Who knows? She roamed from bar to bar and died of an illness.
My mother was a whore.
And, your father?
I hate him, but I miss him. Almost as much as I miss Grandma.
What? They don't want to sell me alcohol?
She says you owe them a whole chest,
and unless you pay what you owe, she won't sell you anymore.
I'm a regular customer, damn it! How dare she!
After he lost his business and then the house,
the family scattered here and there.
I lived with my father in a shabby mud hut.
Who am I?
I said, who am I?
That's right. I'm your father.
Who is this lady? She's your rotten mother!
If I ever catch her,
I'm going to break her legs in half!
How could you leave behind your miserable wife and kids,
and so many more hearts to break in this world?
You can't die now!
When he could no longer afford his alcohol,
my father killed himself by drinking pesticide.
After he died, my father's family rented out a small house
in my grandma's childhood hometown.
I preferred living with my father
in that decrepit old hut.
Where are you?
Didn't I tell you to fill that crock with water?
Stop ordering me around like a slave!
What did you say?
If you don't want to work, get out of the house!
It's not our loss!
Do you know what everyone's saying?
What are they saying?
They say you're lucky to have a girl like me to slave around!
Yeah? I dress you! I feed you! I send you to school!
Have you ever heard of a slave who gets treated so nicely?
Who's the child and who's the adult here?
Shut up, both of you!
I still have nightmares about those days!
Why did we all hate each other so much?
- Because we're poor? - Look who's here!
- How have you been? - Long time, no see!
- Getting prettier by the day! - Get us a room, will you?
What are you all doing here?
Didn't expect to see you here.
Are you here for the funeral already?
We're not expected till tomorrow night.
We just have to carry the coffin the day after.
We got here a day early to go fishing.
Don't tell Jun-seop about this! You didn't see us here.
It's good to see you, though.
You escaped the last time.
I plan to drink with her till we drop tonight.
You're a professor, you moron!
Many a men have challenged Jang to a drinking feud
and ended up hanging their heads in shame.
That Yong-sun has lost her mind!
She's gone off to the karaoke room with the men.
Like mother like daughter! Both whores!
She's in the exact neighborhood
where her mother prostituted herself and died!
I'm going to kill that girl!
I've never seen her pass out before.
Could we have a rag, please?
How much did you girls drink?
An order of raw fish and five bottles of soju? Six?
She peed herself.
My uncle is the best son the world ever saw.
Keeping dead grandma company all alone till the late hours.
Of course I am.
I drank with some gentlemen, your Seoul friends.
Go get some sleep.
Some reporter named Jang was there, too.
According to your friends, that woman knows you inside out,
and they didn't mean just your books, either.
Maybe that's why she worships you so much.
She keeps referring to you
as Mr. Lee, the 'gracious' and the most 'amazing' writer.
So, I took the liberty to inform her of the truth.
I told her what a genuine hypocrite you are.
But, I don't think she bought what I said.
Anyway, what's occupying that mind of yours right now?
Since you sold Grandma in your novels while she was alive,
are you trying to sell her death, too?
When Eun-ji started school at the age of eight,
she was as tall as her grandma.
During the night, Grandma would go to the bathroom,
and lose her way, often sleeping in the kitchen.
At times, she would ask for her long-dead family members,
and at times, she acted like she was a guest at someone's house.
She would insist she had to return home before it got too late.
My mother made me this pretty dress for my birthday.
I would hate to soil it,
so I'm keeping it nice and clean in this bundle.
Dad? Why is Grandma always talking about the past?
She's acting like a little girl.
That's because she shares her age with you,
she also gives you some of her wisdom.
That's why she is slowly retreating to the old days
and becoming younger and younger.
Eun-ji found it marvelous and felt grateful.
But, she still felt guilty
that Grandma was turning into a child because of her.
When you become an adult,
you'll also have Grandma's wisdom as well.
Becoming an adult not only means growing taller
but also becoming wiser like Grandma.
That's why she is happily sharing her age and wisdom with you
while she is reliving her happy childhood.
Wouldn't you like Grandma
to become your best friend in the world?
Wouldn't that be wonderful,
for both you and for Grandma?
Eun-ji agreed she would like that very much.
She knew Grandma's wisdom would help her grow into a fine young woman.
Whenever she was alone at home,
she would cook dinner multiple times a day,
collect dry laundry and wash them again and again
and pick the persimmons way before they got ripe.
You picking persimmons or chestnuts?
Those persimmons are still green!
Just trying to help, that's all.
Banham: Feeding three spoonfuls of rice to the corpse
- 1,000 bushels. - 1,000 thousand.
- 2,000 bushels. - 2,000.
- 3,000 bushels. - 3,000.
At 80, she was as strong as a mule.
The fastest walker you ever saw, too.
She'd be there one minute and gone the next.
The entire village would be dispatched to go search for her.
Two or three times, at least every month, even in the middle of the night.
Did you find her?
I went all the way to Gahak village to find her.
- Where are you?! - I'm over here!
- Hey! - I found her!
Where do you think she was headed to?
Don't ask me! Only the devil knows!
Hold on tight.
Yeom: Scenting the corpse
Once while working on the field, villagers saw smoke rising from this house.
So, we rushed over here to check
and saw thick smoke was coming out from her room
and Grandma crawling around and falling.
It turns out she set her room on fire while smoking a cigarette.
Mother, no more cigarettes for you from now.
Short hair is in fashion these days, you know.
Everyone is cutting their hair short and perming it.
So, don't get upset at me for cutting it off.
What's wrong, my darling? Alright, alright.
Is that hair in your mouth?
I promise you'll get your hairpin back one day.
The daughter-in-law couldn't be bothered
and the babies kept chewing on the loose strands, so the long hair had to go.
Her long hair was her last remaining dignity,
and after she lost it,
her condition became increasingly worse as the days went by.
Mother, here is some bibimbap and boiled potatoes
for when you get hungry.
I'll be working on the pea patch and will be back after sunset.
Don't you go anywhere!
- You can pee in here. - I want to go with you!
The daughter-in-law put a lock on the door.
She had to because she kept wandering off.
She couldn't sit and watch over her all day.
Was Mr.Lee aware of this the whole time?
Of course he was.
The whole family was involved when it came to matters regarding the old lady.
Jun-seop had no choice but to consent it.
Every time he visited his old mother from the city,
he lavished gifts on villagers for looking after his mother.
Ipgwan: Placing the corpse in a casket
It's time to give her your final gifts.
Mother, remember when I cut your hair,
I promised you I would return this?
Here it is. Wear this on your journey.
Mom, if you miss me, you can look at this.
Mom, when you get to the other side, I hope you meet dad and live happily ever after.
I almost forgot!
Grandma, I hope you find your paradise. Okay?
- Use this on your journey, okay? - Grandma.
Sister, take my sore back with you, too.
And, take with you my aching knees.
About a month ago,
Mother handed this box to me and said
she would like to take it with her when she died.
I found out that every leap year, she set a date
to visit three different temples to collect these amulets.
She believed that by doing so, she could ward off evil and illnesses from her children.
You know she was never a religious person.
But, she traveled from temple to temple,
three in one day, every leap year, to collect these.
I still don't know
how she managed to walk through such rough mountain routes.
You all know she did it for us.
Open it up and place them next to her in the coffin.
It must have taken her at least a few decades to collect all this.
I lived with her and still had no idea.
She didn't want to jinx the good luck by showing it to anyone, and hid it.
Grandma continued to grow smaller
until one day, she became a child smaller than Eun-ji.
The way she talked and behaved
was that of a small child.
Grandma wanted to play games Eun-ji had grown tired of.
She became whiney.
And, she broke Eun-ji's favorite toys.
What's going on?
Grandma has looked after you since you were born.
And, she became a child by giving you her age.
Isn't it time you looked after Grandma?
Suddenly, Eun-ji realized
that she owed everything to her grandma.
She was ashamed for having snapped at her.
She finally understood that she had to look after Grandma.
One, two, three...
Such short walking sticks.
We're all sinners responsible for our parent's death and must stoop low.
There's a reason for everything.
All of us here have sinned.
And, you think this is some cheap fashion show!
Take off that tasteless dress and change into mourning.
I'm paying my respects to Grandma
by wearing my own mourning, so lay off!
Don't you get it? This is how I do things.
Do you hear yourself?
I was glad you came here of your own will
and was able to let certain things go.
But, Grandma will turn over in her grave if she saw you in that outfit.
Why are you so damn selfish all the time?
That coming from a person who cut off all her hair
and locked her in her own room!
Do you forget that this is a funeral?
Hold your tongues until this is over!
You and Yong-sun s hould both know better!
Yeongjwa, Binsoseolchi: Setting up a funeral parlor
Dad, sorry I'm late.
I know I can do much better than this.
What are those dogs sniffing around for?
They get bored, too, like us. Why don't you go ask?
How important is Yong-sun in her family history?
Why have you never mentioned her in your books?
I feel she has a lot of resentment against you.
Does she feel you didn't properly take care of your mother?
I never took her under my roof.
But, there is another reason.
I'm looking for Mr. Lee Jun-seop.
Yong-sun, what are you doing here?
It was my first time seeing her after she left home without a word.
I heard you won a prize for your novel.
Was the prize really five million won?
Who told you?
My roommate is a bookworm.
I was working for a magazine earning a meager salary
and was feeling mostly sorry for myself.
I spent many days getting drunk on cheap alcohol.
But, I got lucky and they awarded me,
a no-name writer, a prize, which ended up causing more problems.
I've never had sweet and sour pork before.
I actually have a favor to ask you.
There's a new bar called 'Paradise' opening up in Cheonho.
It's a great investment opportunity.
And, a friend of mine wants me in.
Could you lend me that prize money?
I would pay back of course. Within a year.
That money is going into building a new family home.
Folks back home desperately need a house.
You know Grandma lives in a tiny rented room.
You're not building the house right now. I'll pay you back within a year.
What would you have done if you hadn't won the prize?
You probably don't want to lend money to a bastard like me.
You have no reason to.
I shouldn't have come.
You sell the story of your family's hardships
and become some big-shot writer.
Why would you look twice at a loser like me?
I will never come to you again for money.
And, don't you dare mention me in your novels!
Rock, scissors, paper!
Kids, come over here.
The feng shui expert is here!
How terrible. My condolences.
You've ruined the sauteed vegetables!
How could you not tell the difference between sugar and salt?
Who's going to eat this?
Your shouting isn't going to change sweet to savory!
This is Mr. Woo Rok, the feng shui expert.
Former school principal, village chief,
and head of the village farm guild.
We have our very own experts in this village.
For Jun-seop to have specially invited you, you must be a master indeed.
How do you plan on locating the burial site?
Your late ancestors will guide the way.
it will be up to the living to take care of the grave in the long run.
Feng shui merely follows such logic.
Confucianism is definitely a secular religion. In fact, more than a religion,
it is a study and a set of precepts we live by.
In the Confucian view of the world,
the only god that exists is our dead ancestors.
Taking good care of your parents is a duty
but once they're dead, filial duty becomes more of a religion.
There is nothing more grand and sincere than filial piety.
That's why Confucianism is regarded as a religion.
So, a funeral is the point of contact between religion and the precepts.
Traditionally, children had to mourn for three years at their parent's grave.
If you think about the intricacies of our funeral process,
the person you respected while they were alive
becomes a figure of religious worship after they're dead.
Ancestral rites are a form of religious filial piety
and the funeral is the most solemn form of ancestral worship.
I'll tell Jun-seop when he comes back. Sure.
What? He followed the feng shui expert to the mountains?
A mourner is never supposed to leave the house.
I'm sure he knew what he was doing.
He's a novelist, not an expert on funerals.
I'm sure he left because there are not that many guests
and he wanted some fresh air.
Could you get me some water?
Well, look who's finally graced us with her presence!
I came to fetch a glass of water.
I know you're on phone duty and haven't wet your hands once,
but I hope you look around and learn.
There are eyes watching.
Roll up your sleeve and at least pretend that you're working!
What with a celebrity novelist in the family, I thought their would be more guests than this!
Who is going to eat all this food?
Actually, My husband
hates inconveniencing other people.
So, he didn't contact that many.
His mother has died. Can't he let go of his pride just this once?
I have no idea why mother has to be so harsh on you.
You pay the money for her to build a room next to the bathroom for Grandma
and she uses it to buy herself a closet inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
You pay the money for her to install a gas boiler
and she uses it to build a new kitchen sink.
How many times have you paid for her new gas boiler?
She's taken enough money from you with Grandma as an excuse.
You've done more than enough.
She has no right to torment you like this.
By the way, when do you think
my youngest son will get a job at the publishing house?
Jun-seop and I grew up together as kids!
We were elementary school friends.
I'm aware of that.
So, what's your take on Mr. Lee?
Jun-seop is a real genius!
You teach him one thing, he understands ten!
Wait, miss! I'm not done with my story!
That woman has no manners!
Hey, you're alive again!
Big catch today?
- Absolutely nothing! - You got hammered last night.
I've never blacked out like that while drinking.
I'm so embarrassed!
He's the best-known singer in the village!
He had a prior engagement elsewhere,
but I mentioned your name and here he is!
I'm honored to be of service to you and your family!
Thank you for coming over.
Funeral rites are a lot simpler than they used to be.
Let's pay our respects at 9:00
and then once more at 1:00 a.m.
- And, that should do. - Thank you, once again.
Su-nam, make sure Grandma...
That old man is quite the lady-killer!
He's broken many hearts with his voice.
Keep your eyes on your women!
- You're here. - How's it going?
We were going to come earlier but Gwang-jae was late.
You know how he is.
Did you come down here to fish or to get wasted?
Who told you?
She was 87. She lived a long life!
Must be a load off your shoulders!
She was my mother!
Have some heart!
Why don't you just call it a party? Bunch of idiots!
Smile. I can't smile, but all of you should!
Lighten things up around here!
No funeral is complete without a singer.
The peaceful departure of the dead
all depends on me and my songs.
Sir, my grandmother had a rough life.
Please sing her some good songs.
A good singer must have more than just a good voice.
He has to convey real human emotions.
Every village has its own funeral singer
but only a few are truly gifted in what they do.
I need the toilet!
400km in seven hours? My back is killing me.
Why do they have to arrive all at once?
Get ready to serve food to the guests.
We're all paying together.
And, too many pallbearers. Who should we pick?
Mr. Choi is here with me as well.
Here he is.
- Thanks for coming. - I wouldn't miss it.
This is my brother-in-law.
- I'm sorry for your loss. - Welcome.
Good to see you.
He's a literary critic.
He evaluates literary works.
He's very well known in his field.
Even the greatest writers are intimidated by him.
Nice to meet you.
- Likewise. - Nice to meet you.
Let me introduce
Mr. Kwon Yeoung-gil, branch manager of Nampo Bank.
And, this is Mr. Kim from Daedong Securities.
Nice to meet you.
Miss, you really are lovely.
Back in the days, gisaengs were summoned to noblemen's funerals.
Some took their last breath listening to their songs.
You really are beautiful.
I need some more drink.
Ladies! Bring us some drinks.
I don't believe this.
He's treating her like she's a gisaeng.
Look at all those cars. They're blocking the road.
Another funeral at Jun-seop's and they'll have to widen the road.
Move your car! Move it!
Let's go! Move it!
- It's the county governor! - And the general affairs manager!
The governor is here! Clear the table!
What a mess.
It's nearly 9:00 and the man has passed out.
This isn't good. He's dead drunk!
Look, even the governor is here.
It's his first time here in a while.
Don't just stand there.
Makes some room for the governor!
- My condolences. - Thank you for coming.
You've always been a good son. You must be devastated.
Cut the crap and go have a drink!
He can be so disrespectful...
An extra 20 meters would act as a seawall during storms.
How difficult would it be to build it?
People like us complain
and you bureaucrats get together
to talk the talk
but never walk the walk.
- It's because of the budget - You have no say in this!
Why don't you do something for once!
I just want to play some cards!
Where are you been? Gwango!
The new governor is an old classmate, and I've asked him to put in a word
about paving the main road to no avail.
We're a bit miffed.
He used to send money regularly for his mother
and visit three to four times a year.
I guess you might call that
being a good son doing his duties.
Are you going to play or not?
If you are, why are you still over there?
Get your butts over here!
- You're here! - Let's go in.
This is from Seo Jin-su.
Could I have an envelope?
Do you plan on drinking all night?
I got it, I got it.
Why do you keep following us around?
Get out of the kitchen.
Why are you asking me these sensitive questions, anyway?
If you want answers, go ask my mother in person!
Back in the old days, people used to diagnose a parent's illness
by dipping their finger in to his or her feces and tasting it.
They would bite into their finger to offer their parents blood for nutrition
and cut off their own flesh to feed their parents if need be.
Growing up as kids,
whatever our parents told us, we believed as absolute truth.
Times sure have changed.
There's no such respect for parents anymore!
I find it unexpected.
The villagers hold conflicting opinions on you.
Some have great respect for you for making your hometown proud
while some others don't really trust you.
Why is that?
With a fancy university degree,
I should have become a judge or a prosecutor.
But, I've let them down by becoming a writer.
I see. Look at all these people.
Look at all the mourners who've come!
It's a testament to you being a great writer!
Daddy! Mommy doesn't like you talking to this reporter lady.
Here is Professor Baek.
Oh, good. Could you introduce me to him?
We've met before, but I don't think he'll recognize me.
Phone for you.
Hello? Yes, Mr. Kim?
- This is reporter Jang Hye-rim. - Hello.
- Where? - You met her during an awards ceremony.
- Daejeon? - You're a good-looking woman.
- Thank you. - He's busy at the moment.
Could you call back in 30 minutes?
- Come out for a second! - Why?
Kim Sang-sik from Seoul wants to talk to you.
I can't pick up every single phone call!
Look, the guys want more betting money.
Give them some more money.
Just figure it out.
Dementia is an illness.
It occurs with the degeneration of brain cells.
The scary thing about this illness is
it affects not only the individual, but the entire family.
he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a form of dementia.
He doesn't even recognize his secretary anymore.
Even the president of America is not immune to it.
Ten! Pay up!
Who are you? Get lost.
We need more money.
- Deal the cards. - There's no more money.
- Let's take a break. - Deal the cards!
Then bring us more money!
Who is responsible for getting him so drunk?
Nobody is responsible except his own self!
I don't believe this! Father, lets go!
Let him sleep a little. He has to sing during the funeral.
If you take him now, who is going to sing?
Listen, my father could be the next one dead.
I'm taking him home!
- You can't leave! - Let me go!
Shake it properly!
Quit tossing it flat and throw it properly!
How's that? Huh?
You're out! Out!
You can't drop it while you shake it!
What are you laughing at? What are you looking at?
Get on with it!
So, what's going on?
- He can't make it, either. - What? He can't?
There's a funeral in that village as well.
What are we going to do!
Of all people, you had to pick a drunk and ruin everything!
I know a good voice if I hear one.
- I'll just do it. - What? You're going to sing?
Chogyeong: Seven to nine in the evening
Is it 9:00? It's time for the ritual. Get the pallbearers!
Stop playing yut and come on down!
Guests from Seoul, gather outside!
It's 9:00 in the evening!
It's 9:00 in the evening!
Is that the loudest you can do? Are you all starving to death?
You have to be louder than that!
We'll do it again. Let's start again!
Folks from Seoul, you're not in a karaoke room.
- No humming! - He is doing great!
He knows what he's doing!
From the top!
When will we see you again? Tell us when you'll be back.
The mountains are high...
Eun-ji, now in her 4th year of elementary school
is enjoying her fourth winter holiday.
Grandma was so small now that Eun-ji could not play with her anymore.
However, no matter how childish she was,
mom and dad took great care of her.
How much smaller will she get?
If she gave away all of her age,
what would happen to Grandma, then?
Eun-ji was deeply worried.
Once she has given you all of her age,
she becomes a baby again.
Once she gets as small as she can get,
Grandma won't be around anymore.
She will leave us for the next world.
Dad's words were precisely what Eun-ji had dreaded.
He was telling her that she was going to die.
Eun-ji told herself that she would no longer
take away Grandma's age from her.
Eun-ji, my darling,
you are a sweet child with a big heart
and you don't want Grandma to die.
But, even if she leaves us one day,
she will always leave a part of her with us.
The only thing that's disappearing is her body,
but her soul will one day come to life again
in the form of another beautiful baby.
Eun-ji imagined a caterpillar transforming into a pretty butterfly
by emerging from its cocoon.
But, Eun-ji wasn't sure if everyone was born that way
and whether Grandma would be reborn one day as well.
She needed to be certain.
However, not all souls of those departed
can be reborn into a new person.
The only souls who can return to life
are the people who have done many good deeds during their lifetime.
Eun-ji was now curious when Grandma would come back and what she would look like.
She wondered if she would recognize
the baby with her grandma's soul.
When Eun-ji heard her dad explain
that she won't be able to see when and how
her grandma comes back to life, it worried her even more.
During the Korean War, when the country was torn in half,
there was combat around here as well.
Someone from, I forget which side, died
and his dead body, unclaimed, was laying on the street.
Everyone freaked out and avoided the corpse.
Nobody dared remove the body.
Right then, that woman calls me over and says
the killer and everyone ignoring his dead body
are equally evil and asks me to help her move the it.
I panicked at the time.
I didn't want to get into trouble by risking anything.
So, there I was, being all indecisive and she shouts,
;You're just like the rest of them! Don't you even dare come to my funeral!'
Then, she sets off to remove the corpse on her own.
How could I not follow?
We carried the body and buried it in the mountains.
She was a tough one, that old woman.
My mother was the best woman there ever was.
During the famine, she never once refused a beggar.
She invited them all into the house
and sat them down with her own family.
Those beggars with teeth rotting out of their skulls
would dip their dirty spoons into the stew bowl and we'd all gag,
especially Jun-seop who's always had a weak stomach.
At the risk of her own kids starving,
she always offered everyone a feast.
My husband was a bit of a thug back in the day and he drove me crazy.
Once, I wanted to teach him a lesson,
so I packed my belongings and left for my mother's house.
But, she didn't even let me sit down to take a breath.
I begged her to let me stay for just one night.
But, she walked me to the outskirts of the village,
and stood there, waving at me to go back to my own home.
I still remember her waving, and I wasn't sure if she was beckoning me
or waving me away to go home. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
- I am the dead woman's son-in-law. - Hello.
You all look like aspiring writers.
If you want to write,
you should at least be as good as my brother-in-law.
In my opinion,
he should win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
- Bedtime for him. - He should be the first Korean to...
750,000 won, my entire fortune.
Let's do another round.
Let's stop here.
It's a game. Don't take it so seriously.
Yeah! Take it easy.
We want to have fun, not to go bankrupt.
- Shut up, you half-sack! - What did you just call me?
You must be. Isn't that why your wife left you?
Have you seen my balls? Have you?
That dick better keep his mouth shut.
What's wrong with you, mister?
If you like me, say it to my face.
You're a fiery one!
Lay off, will you?
What a loser!
Who are you, anyway?
I am Lee Jun-seop's niece!
- What? Cat got your tongue? - Stop it.
- Why are you taking that money? - Move!
Let's go to a motel and continue.
Let's just stay here.
- Come on, get up! - Fine, we're coming.
He took a bunch of envelopes.
You have it all on record, right?
I've only written down their names.
I don't know how much was in the envelopes.
It doesn't matter as long as you've gotten the correct names.
He can't do this, can he?
Don't worry. It's my debt to pay off.
The traditional family rite standards have become
so simplified that the funeral proceedings are over before you know it,
and the actual funeral is all about burying the corpse.
The ritual ceremony has merely become
a party where people gather to get drunk!
You're going to get ill.
Leave it up to your brothers and get some rest.
Traditionally, children mourned for three years.
But, who does that these days?
I've seen some take off their mourning after three days.
These days, a year of mourning
- is as good as it gets. - Thanks for coming, Kim.
We pushed to get it published before the end of the funeral.
Mother, consider this as my apology to you
for not having been a better son.
- This is all I have left. - We're done here.
Just because you won a few rounds!
My winnings, okay?
Are you showing off?
Don't stop the fight!
Someone needs to slap some sense into him.
He deserves to get beaten up!
Samgyeong: Eleven in the evening to one in the morning
It's 11:00 in the evening!
No way he can sing in that state!
It's 11:00 in the evening!
11:00 in the evening!
Let's have some fun! This is the final night!
Let's play! Have some fun!
What are all those things?
She's never even seen them in her life!
Look at you all drunk!
You should be ashamed of yourself!
Move out of the way!
Why? Because my mother was a prostitute?
What's so great about you all, anyway?
He wrote some good stuff about you in his novel,
but the reality couldn't be further from the truth!
Stop kidding yourselves!
Yeah he's a famous novelist and he wrote plenty about this family,
but none of you really took good care of Grandma!
So, don't tell me what to do and what not to do!
Now you've crossed the line!
I've tried my best to not say anything,
but I can't listen to you anymore.
You think you're the only one who cared about her?
Where were you in her darkest hour?
We've all made mistakes, but we all cared.
Grandma gave you all she had. What have you done for her?
Are you going to keep complaining?
Would Grandma want that?
We all loved her,
but it's been tough for all of us!
Grandma was now a baby who couldn't even talk.
Like a baby in her mother's womb,
she curled up like a fetus
and slept night and day for several days.
However, Eun-ji did not look at Grandma
as being ugly or strange in the least.
To be reborn as a baby,
Grandma was getting ready to say goodbye to Eun-ji's family.
It broke Eun-ji's heart to think
she would never see Grandma again.
She wanted Grandma to stay where she was,
with her and her family in their home.
She can't stay with us forever
because she just loves you too much.
You know that everyone gains wisdom
when they get older, right?
Once you're filled with that wisdom,
you want to share it with those you love.
Grandma had so much wisdom in her
that she had to share it with others.
According to dad,
grandma shared her age and wisdom
and became a baby to leave our family,
because her soul
was about to be reborn from all that love.
This is the bier that will carry your mother's coffin.
Not just any bier! It's the best that you can get.
How about fuel? It's asking for it.
This baby doesn't run on gas!
It runs on love!
You're the only person I can go to for cigarettes.
Are you familiar with rain birds?
They don't have their own nests,
so whenever it rains, they fly from one tree to another and crow.
What curious birds...
It's a bird that appears in your uncle's novel.
On rainy evenings, your grandmother would listen to the cries of the rain bird
and would wonder out loud about the bird's sad fate
and would fret about
a certain family member who left home to earn a living.
She would worry whether that person would have a roof over her head in the rain.
To provide comfortable refuge for the birds,
she would take great care of the trees in her front yard
and would sprinkle seeds around them.
I'm sure there is a degree of truth in that story.
But, for an old woman suffering from dementia, her intentions seem too deep.
A novelist reveals his innermost thoughts through his characters.
Not that a novel is a true reflection of reality.
A novel is more like an excuse for one's life.
It's your uncle's first fairy tale. Want to read it?
A pasqueflower is a tagger that counts springs
- Pay up. - I will!
Pay up, now!
Fine, fine! You can have my watch.
Give that to your boy. I can get that for 5,000 won at the market.
That's it? No way! I want cash!
Yeah? Well, I'm kind of in a rush to go.
We have to leave now.
- The family is... - Bastard!
The funeral procession is about to leave.
- We're not done here. - Sit back down.
This man has to be at the funeral.
Who are you?! Get lost!
Come on! Hurry! We're late!
- You're staying. - Tone it down!
They don't know when to stop!
- Let's start. - You stop right there!
He left his cheap watch and didn't pay!
- What? - Over there.
He looked well-mannered.
They come to pay their respects
and instead bring girls to a motel!
What a sight! You bunch of morons!
Getting drunk and arriving late to a funeral!
Have you lost your minds?
Is this how you're going to behave when your parents pass away?
Barinje: Memorial service before the funeral bier departs from the home of the deceased
Mother, enjoy your last meal. Eat your fill.
We've prepared your favorite vegetables
and meat. Enjoy it before you go.
Cheongu: Moving the casket from the funeral parlor to the main house
- Gwanambosal. - Goodbye, my beloved. When will we meet again?
Noje: Memorial service held at the gate of the deceased's home
Gwanambosal! Gwanambosal! Gwanambosal! Gwanambosal!
- Gwanambosal! - Our hearts are with you.
- Gwanambosal! - Always with you.
Many a friends you may have, but they must stay.
Many a relatives you have, but they cannot go with you.
She's been through so much in this lifetime. She's finally leaving it all behind.
Mother nature is just dawning, while our youth is slowly waning.
Oh, tender youth, do not mock the old,
for yesterday I was as green as a warm spring day, and now I'm in the winter of my life.
One fine spring day,
Grandma, waking from her deep slumber,
gazed out the window with a smile on her face.
She seemed ready at last
to leave Eun-ji and her family for her next long journey.
80 years, gone with the spring breeze.
I'm the wind, the fertilizer, the rain and snow.
Hagwan: Lowering the casket into the ground
- Gwanambosal! Gwanambosal. - Gwanambosal Gwanambosal.
- Always in our thoughts. - Gwanambosal, gwanambosal.
- Forever in our hearts. - Gwanambosal, gwanambosal.
- Gwanambosal, gwanambosal. - Always in our hearts.
Shilto: Covering the casket with soil
Dad said Grandma gave away
the last of her age today.
Eun-ji saw her Grandma's soul
peacefully drift off with the last of her breath.
The sight of her Grandma's small frame
laying there peacefully
reminded Eun-ji of her old days and it filled her with great sadness.
Grandma's soul danced off into the distance
like a white butterfly gracefully dancing in the breeze.
Eun-ji could only hope that her soul
would find life again in the prettiest little baby
the world has ever known.
Thank you, Grandma. Goodbye.
The wisdom you have shared with me,
I will cherish always.
And, one day when I grow up,
I will share the same wisdom with newborns
just like you have done with me.
Eun-ji made a deep promise to herself.
A pasqueflower is a tagger that counts springs
Banhon: Calling on the spirit of the deceased back to his or her home
Chouje: The first memorial service after the funeral
Mother! My dear mother!
How could you leave us like this?
It breaks my heart so.
Mother! My dear mother!
All I wanted was to share the rest of our lives together in this home.
Eun-ji, where are the kids? It's time for a photo.
- They went to the beach! - The beach?
- Go and fetch Yong-sun. - Yeah?
Uncle Jun-seop is looking for you!
Straighten your gowns.
What's with the photo-taking session?
Kimchi! Say, 'kimchi!' Smile, everyone.
Jun-seop! We can't smile, but you should.
Korean Film Archive presents Korean captions and English subtitles are sponsored by Google Translations and subtitles by Free Film Communications