Thursday, March 26, 2009

World Movie Series - 7 - The Way Home

Have you ever had the opportunity of getting associated with your grandparents? For those who have, they know the value of the relationship. Especially, grandmothers are the most compassionate. They have limitless love towards their grandchildren and they will never allow the child’s parents to beat or criticize the children. They will always come to the rescue of the child. A child grows hearing the stories recited by its grandma. I’m sure that if this relationship is missed in life, something momentous is lost.

Imagine the olden days when we used to visit our grandparents in their native village during holidays. One of the greenest memories in life. Do you remember how happy the grand ma was, after seeing her grand children? The delicious eatables she cooked, the toys she bought, the stories she recited, the songs she sung. It’s a lovely relationship the grandma shares towards the grandchildren.

‘The Way Home’ is one of such movies, where we will remember our grand ma at the end of the film.

The movie begins when little boy Sang-woo and his mother are traveling in a bus. We see Sang-woo questioning his mother repeatedly about someone. The mother sits still, and Sang-woo loses interest soon, and starts playing with his toy. The bus drops them in a village, and the mother takes him to a very old house. Sang-woo sees broken furniture, ragged and torn shoes, spider webs and insects inside the house. A very old lady is sitting in the middle. It’s Sang-Woo’s grand ma.

Sang-Woo’s mom presents undergarments to the old lady and some more useful things. She apologizes for not visiting her for a long time, as she is a divorcee now, with no job. She says how can she visit her mom, after running with someone from the village? She promises she will visit again after she’s got a job. She gives tinned food and beverages to the old lady, saying that Sang-Woo will eat them. The old lady signs her daughter to stay, but she leaves.

Once his mom is left, Sang-woo is bored to the core. He starts playing his video game and ignores his grand ma. The grand ma cannot talk. She keeps sitting near the little boy. He calls her a ‘retard’. He is totally unhappy about his mom bringing him to this old creepy lady.

Sang-Woo’s game boy runs out of the batteries, and he asks his grand ma the money to buy new batteries. She doesn’t have the money, and Sang-Woo becomes angry, scolds her and hides her shoes. The grand ma rubs her heart in a circular way, and Sang-Woo
Doesn’t understand it. He steals his grand ma’s beautiful hairpin, and tries to exchange it in the village for new batteries, but the new batteries are unavailable. Out of anger, he hides the hairpin too. The grandma searches them, and finally uses an old spoon, as a hairpin.

The grand ma lives by selling the vegetables she cultivates. Since the food given by Sang-Woo’s mom is exhausted, he asks for Kentucky fried chicken, and the grand ma understands that Sang-Woo is asking for a chicken. She walks out to the village in pouring rain, and gets one live chicken. She cooks it and gives to Sang-Woo but he demands them to be fried. He doesn’t like the boiled chicken, and shouts at the old lady, throwing the food away. But he is unable to withstand his hunger in the night, and slowly eats it. The next morning, the grand ma is still in the bed, and Sang-Woo fearfully places his ear on her chest, to check. She catches high fever, as she went out in the rain, and Sang-Woo, for the first time, helps his grand ma with the food and blankets.

Once in a while, the grand ma needs Sang-Woo to help her with the needle and the thread, and Sang-Woo does it angrily. She stitches her shoes and dresses. Sang-Woo’s grand ma takes him with her to the village fair one day, and by selling the vegetables she cultivated, buys him shoes and choco-pie. She gets two choco-pies to him, and he grabs them, sits in the bus. The grand ma stands outside, trying to give him her bag to take to the village, but he refuses. The grand ma doesn’t have money to buy ticket, and so she walks all the way back to the village.

Gradually, compassion grows in Sang-Woo’s heart, and he places a choco-pie in his grand ma’s bag. Sang-Woo ‘s grand ma gives him the game boy one day, but when he checks it later, he finds money inside the package, and this makes him to cry. Sang-Woo learns from a fellow boy that rubbing the heart means asking forgiveness. He realizes that all the while he was angry with his grand ma, she was asking him to forgive her. This makes him to weep. His grand ma hands him a letter that his mom is coming the next day to pick him up.

Sang-Woo tries to teach the grand ma to write ‘I am sick’ and ‘I miss you’, as he wants the granny to post him so that he will know about her condition back in the city. But, the grand ma is unable to write. She sheds tears, and Sang-Woo too cries.

Next day. We see Sang-Woo and his mom in the bus stand along with the grand ma. All set for him to alight the bus. His mom bids farewell to the granny, and Sang-Woo gets in to the bus. Suddenly, he comes out, hands his grand ma many cards, on which he has written ‘I am sick’ and ‘I miss you’ many times. He then runs inside the bus. The grand ma stands outside his window, knocking it touchingly, and the bus starts. Sang-Woo runs to the back of the bus and rubs his heart, asking forgiveness to his grand ma. The bus slowly moves to the end of the road, and the movie ends.

The movie is a good one, and it makes us to hate the little brat Sang-Woo for the things he does for his grand ma. Almost for the entire film, he hates her. I felt this is a little too much, but otherwise, the movie is nicely made. The entire dialogues can be captured in one or two pages.

This film is directed by Lee Jeong-Hyang, and was the second highest grossing film in 2002 in South Korea. Lee Jeong – Hyang says that she took the movie based on the popular saying that nature and old people are same. They both can’t talk and only can express their feelings through other means. The movie is dedicated to all the grandparents around the world.

See the trailer here.


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