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With or Without You

Documentary Film
South Korea
92 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kyung-soo Han, Eva Rink
Hyuck-jee Park
Kwang-min Kim
Hyuck-jee Park
Hyuck-jee Park
Hyuck-jee Park
Eun-kyoung Park
Park Hyuck-jee lets us discover two women’s complex world in slow and unobtrusively observed images. Step by step we are introduced into the daily life of a house in southern Korea under whose roof Magg-i and Chun-hee have lived together for 45 years. Until 1960 it was the custom in South Korea to bring a surrogate mother into the family when the wife was unable to have children. That’s how Chun-hee came into Magg-i’s family. She gave birth to a daughter for her and stayed … The years passed, the husband died long ago. Patiently and leniently, smoking constantly and with tired but sharp eyes Magg-i watches over Chun-hee’s life – after all, the younger woman is considered mentally handicapped. Magg-i is worried about who will take care of Chun-hee after her death and tries to prepare her for an independent life.

The extraordinary relationship between the two women is characterised by mutual dependencies, power and responsibility. A clear constellation whose foundations, however, are shaken at the end of the film by ingeniously deployed images that introduce a second level to that of human relationships: the level of material conditions which define our place even in our private environment.

Zaza Rusadze