My Love, Don’t Cross That River 2016
Distributed by Film Movement
Directed by Moyoung Jin
DVD , color, 88 min.
Aging, Death, Dying, Family, Grief, Interpersonal Relations, Marriage
Date Entered: 11/15/2017Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
The elderly subjects of this documentary have been married to each other for more than 75 years. At 89 and 98 years respectively, wife Gye-Yeul Kang and husband Byong-man Jo age in place even as the health of both declines. Visits from family members and visits to doctors take place alongside the daily tasks of maintaining their small home in rural South Korea. According to supplementary material, the filmmaker followed the couple for 15 months, capturing both the small, mundane events of the couple’s life as well as their affectionate and supportive relationship. The six surviving children and their offspring, as well as the family pets, appear as auxiliary characters in this story, however the couple’s long-standing and unwavering bond dominates the film. When death finally ends the arranged marriage, the grief expressed by the remaining partner is palpable.
Hugely popular in South Korea, the film is a beautifully rendered portrayal of two people in a loving long-term relationship. Although some of the dialogue and scenes appear more contrived than spontaneous, there is an authenticity to the emotions expressed and recorded by the camera that give explanation to the films popularity.