South Korea in 1975. Jinhee is nine years old and lives in a small town in this Asian country. One day her father announces that they are to go on a journey. He doesn’t tell Jinhee where they are going but nonetheless, she has no choice but to obey his instructions and accompany him. On the outskirts of the capital, Seoul, Jinhee’s father puts Jinhee into the care of Catholic nuns who run an orphanage; he hopes that she will be adopted by ‘new’ parents. Jinhee is horrified and can’t believe that her devoted father would want to disown her so cruelly. She desperately tries to contact him and even tries to run away. But all is in vain. Finally, she resigns herself to her fate. Jinhee gets used to life at the orphanage, where she makes a lot of new friends. Sookhee, who is three years older than Jinhee, teaches her all sorts of tricks and ruses that make life easier at the orphanage. Yeshin is seventeen and the oldest orphan at the home. A hip injury has left her handicapped. Not everyone at the home will find a new family but, deep in her heart, Jinhee doesn’t really want one. She’d rather stay put and live in hope of one day being able to see her father again. But Jinhee’s time at the orphanage is marked by constant partings … Director Ounie Lecomte went through a similar experience to that of her young protagonist when she lived at Saint Paul’s orphanage in Seoul in 1975/76. Nonetheless, she doesn’t want her film to be regarded as an entirely autobiographical work.
by Ounie Lecomte
with Kim Saeron, Park Doyeon, Ko A-sung, Park Myoungshin, Oh Mansuk, Sul Kyounggu, Moon Sungkeun
Republic of Korea (South Korea) / France 2009
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