a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Kazoku no kuni / Our Homeland

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Director Yong-hi Yang, who has explored issues of her own Korean/Japanese family in documentaries, brings a fresh focus with her first feature fiction, Kazoku no kuni. The film follows the tale of  Sonho (Iura Arata), a man who emigrated to North Korea from Japan in the 1970s, following an invitation to a better life there. In reality many Korean expats and Korean/Japanese did this from the 1950s through the 70s. In Kazoku no kuni he returns to Japan to get an operation, reuniting with his old family and particularly his sister, Rie (Sakura Ando). A powerful drama unfolds as Sonho tries to convince his sister to go to North Korea with him. The family dynamics are carefully etched with Yong-hi Yang’s sure direction. The leads, Ando and Arata, take on difficult and complex issues of nationalism, identity and family ties, giving them life through generous and deep portrayals. The supporting cast fills out the edges and details of this superbly crafted and heartfelt exploration of a little seen part of contemporary history.

Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2012.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

August 1, 2012 at 4:33 am

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