* Danah Kim, Human Asia Intern
날아라 펭귄(Fly, Penguin, 2009)
‘Fly, penguin’ is an omnibus movie which covers all generation’s problem with the keyword, “family” from Seungyoon’s worry as a 9-year-old boy to her mother’s life as a career woman in this competitive society. ‘Fly, penguin’ describes a variety of problems of this society in a wider angle such as the problem of education, elderly and cultural diversity. Even though it is difficult to deal with, film makers see those problems with a warm eye and try to seek a solution, so the movie illustrates petty conflicts of our life with humor. It is not easy to imply the story of the movie in a sentence, which brings up various problems and perspectives, however, it gives us serious messages in terms of child, parents and grand parents’ generation who seek for solution.
In this hyper competitive and education obsessed society, Seungyoon’s life allows us to reflect on ourselves and feel empathy. Hee-jeong Song, mother of Seungyoon and a social worker in a ward office, is a person who fights against social concepts. The scene of her smoking with a vegetarian male coworker let our socially accepted idea get out of.
“Could you spare me a cigarette? No? Boss, Can I trouble you for a cigarette?”
Hee-jeong’s character and attitude itself is the message of the movie. Effort to break away from a fixed idea and stereotypical sex role believed by society and to hold our head up is the advance which film director says.
Why the title of the movie is ‘Fly, Penguin’?
Penguin describes the parents’ generation among three different one. It’s been a long time since the word, ‘goose father’ came into our society, which means sending his wife and children abroad and left alone to survive in education obsessed society.
Movie says, ‘an eagle father’ is able to go abroad frequently in order to see his wife and son, ‘a goose father’ can go 1-2 a year but ‘a penguin father’ never be able to leave his country to see his family.
The reason why to choose ‘penguin’ as a title might be it depicts ordinary father who cannot afford to take care of them in South Korean society.
South Korean spectacular economy growth has caused paternalistic culture in family to be ignored and it is still going on. We have gone through this social-cultural change in such a short time.
It is sympathy which could be the key role to touch the pain of all generations in this rapidly changed society. Since the greatest comfort which embraces all the people and human rights is the conversation and compassion, film makers might like to encourage people to have empathy with characters.
Harin Choi, Human Asia Intern
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