Anthology film 'Today, Together 2' reflects on meaning of family in modern Korea - The Korea Times
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Anthology film 'Today, Together 2' reflects on meaning of family in modern Korea

A scene from the short film
A scene from the short film "Fruits" / Courtesy of Film Dabin

By Kwak Yeon-soo

The omnibus movie "Today, Together 2" is a follow-up to the 2019 film "Today, Together" and is comprised of four short films depicting complicated family relationships in modern-day Korea.

The films also explores intergenerational issues and counters the long-held ideal of self-sacrificing parents. Instead, the film focuses on how "detached" children overcome the absence of their parents and learn to move on with their lives.

Directed by Yang Jae-joon, "Fruits" centers on a father and son who despise each other. Jong-hwan (Ki Joo-bong), a divorced and laid-off dad, is not satisfied with his son Do-jin (Park Se-joon), who repeatedly fails to pass the civil service exam and spends his days sitting in the library.

Do-jin is also angry at his father who collects rotten apricots that fall from trees and embarrassingly insists on buying only groceries that are sold at a discount. However, Do-jin reconciles with his dad after witnessing his sadness at his estranged sister's wedding.

Director Lee Na-yon's "Do Cabbages Grow in Africa?" tells the story of three siblings ― Ji-hye, Ji-hoon and Ji-yoon ― who gather in their old house on the last day of the year. The house is to be demolished soon, so they decide to make kimchi together to say goodbye to a home filled with memories. Making kimchi is a common family tradition in Korea to prepare for the winter.

Clad in their mother's old clothes, the siblings recall memories of their mother, who sends them a letter and a gift package from Burkina Faso in West Africa. The three children rely on each other to find solace from an emotionally absent mother.

A scene from the film
A scene from the film "Gravity-free" / Courtesy of Film Dabin

In the next film, "No thank you," Joon-seop (Kim Hyun-mok) asks his estranged father Sang-woon to cut his long, flame-colored hair because he doesn't want to feel ashamed of how his dad looks in front of his classmates. After speaking to each other in what seems to be a mocking tone, Sang-woon agrees to cut his hair short.

Joon-seop has another favor to ask of his dad ― to buy him a Gundam anime robot. But he can't get himself to do it. However, Joon-seop ends up buying the robot with the money his father's girlfriend gives him.

"Gravity-free" depicts a woman who yearns to see her dead mother. Visually-impaired protagonist Hyun-hee (Han Tae-kyung) takes her son Min-soo (Choi Yoon-woo) to visit her father, who was left alone after her mother passed away.

After returning from her father's place, Hyun-hee feels the painful absence of her mother as she tells a story to her son about a sparrow embarking on an adventure. Director Yeo Jang-cheon won the best new director award at the 21st Persons with Disabilities Film Festival with "Gravity-free."

The tensions and reconciliations between reunited family members are portrayed in an authentic way through diverse formats such as drama, mockumentary and animation.

"Today, Together 2" will hit local theaters on Jan. 21.



A scene from the short film
A scene from the short film "Fruits" / Courtesy of Film Dabin

By Kwak Yeon-soo

The omnibus movie "Today, Together 2" is a follow-up to the 2019 film "Today, Together" and is comprised of four short films depicting complicated family relationships in modern-day Korea.

The films also explores intergenerational issues and counters the long-held ideal of self-sacrificing parents. Instead, the film focuses on how "detached" children overcome the absence of their parents and learn to move on with their lives.

Directed by Yang Jae-joon, "Fruits" centers on a father and son who despise each other. Jong-hwan (Ki Joo-bong), a divorced and laid-off dad, is not satisfied with his son Do-jin (Park Se-joon), who repeatedly fails to pass the civil service exam and spends his days sitting in the library.

Do-jin is also angry at his father who collects rotten apricots that fall from trees and embarrassingly insists on buying only groceries that are sold at a discount. However, Do-jin reconciles with his dad after witnessing his sadness at his estranged sister's wedding.

Director Lee Na-yon's "Do Cabbages Grow in Africa?" tells the story of three siblings ― Ji-hye, Ji-hoon and Ji-yoon ― who gather in their old house on the last day of the year. The house is to be demolished soon, so they decide to make kimchi together to say goodbye to a home filled with memories. Making kimchi is a common family tradition in Korea to prepare for the winter.

Clad in their mother's old clothes, the siblings recall memories of their mother, who sends them a letter and a gift package from Burkina Faso in West Africa. The three children rely on each other to find solace from an emotionally absent mother.

A scene from the film
A scene from the film "Gravity-free" / Courtesy of Film Dabin

In the next film, "No thank you," Joon-seop (Kim Hyun-mok) asks his estranged father Sang-woon to cut his long, flame-colored hair because he doesn't want to feel ashamed of how his dad looks in front of his classmates. After speaking to each other in what seems to be a mocking tone, Sang-woon agrees to cut his hair short.

Joon-seop has another favor to ask of his dad ― to buy him a Gundam anime robot. But he can't get himself to do it. However, Joon-seop ends up buying the robot with the money his father's girlfriend gives him.

"Gravity-free" depicts a woman who yearns to see her dead mother. Visually-impaired protagonist Hyun-hee (Han Tae-kyung) takes her son Min-soo (Choi Yoon-woo) to visit her father, who was left alone after her mother passed away.

After returning from her father's place, Hyun-hee feels the painful absence of her mother as she tells a story to her son about a sparrow embarking on an adventure. Director Yeo Jang-cheon won the best new director award at the 21st Persons with Disabilities Film Festival with "Gravity-free."

The tensions and reconciliations between reunited family members are portrayed in an authentic way through diverse formats such as drama, mockumentary and animation.

"Today, Together 2" will hit local theaters on Jan. 21.



Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr

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