Breakfast with Three Room
How did you get the inspiration for Three Room?
My mom, dad, sisters and I have been living separately for over ten years. My dad, who used to be very patriarchal, has weakened as he has gotten older. He had often told us that he wants to live with his daughters, and that scared me. I kept asking myself questions like “Is it possible for us to stay together?”, “Is it even necessary to stay together?”, and this eventually led me to making this film. I wanted to bring my real family members into this film. Each of us have been a part of this difficult journey no matter how far apart we were, and I hope to console them with my film – just like a bowl of warm noodles.
Why were you interested in depicting this family’s reunion?
To me, family members are the hardest to deal with. It is a lot easier to be nice to others than it is to your own family. A lot had happened before my family’s separation and it left each of us with scars. However, we couldn’t hate or give up on each other. We actually missed each other and wanted to be together. Unfortunately, whenever we got together, we repeatedly hurt each other. Throughout all of this, I started to think about what family means to me, what separated my family, and why we still wanted to get back together. That’s what drove me to make a film about family reunion.
Are you interested in family affairs and will you make further films on this theme?
One of the main reasons why I make films is actually that I have a terrible memory. My family reminds me where I come from and teaches me a lot about relationships, but you forget those things if you don’t look close enough. Making films isn’t necessarily the answer to all of this, but it kind of works as my own way of praying. I like to think that I will be making more films about family. I have already made a documentary which is also about family issues. And just two months ago, I made a short film also about family. To be short, it’s about three siblings who talk about their mom’s absence during kimchi making. I hope to return to Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival with this film.
What did you want to explore in the family’s relationship to the locals?
I like films that deal with the world of not just the main character’s, but the people around. Also, I often get inspiration from nature, so I put a premise that the town in the film’s setting was damaged by a typhoon. However painful a memory is, it gives you a chance to appreciate the little things and relate to those around you. In fact, I learned the earth actually becomes more firm after a typhoon. I think this represents the family’s relations. Hopefully they will be able to become stronger and have a healthier relationship by looking into what they’ve gone through. It won’t be easy, but it’s the hope that I have.
Did you write Three Room as a whole or is it a part of a bigger story?
There are a lot of hidden stories. There were originally four different versions of the screenplay which were all very different from each other. They were stories about a dad who can’t pay rent because his business failed but refuses to sell his fancy car, the eldest daughter who is growing very impatient, and the youngest who feels uncomfortable moving in with her older sister. Originally the story was about this family arguing while house hunting, but for some reason I changed everything and reduced it to a much shorter story.
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
The last scene would have been impossible if it hadn’t been a short film. It was a scene that required a lot of extras, and thanks to my assistant director Hakyoung Lee, many people from the neighborhood agreed to help. She even made her entire family come and help from hours away. If this wasn’t a short film, there would probably have been some problems due to our budget.
Where is your film showing after the festival?
Last year, it was screened at the Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival and Catholic Film Festival in Korea, and this year it will be screened at many more international film festivals. I want to thank my distributor, Film Dabin, for giving me this amazing opportunity.
Are you taking part in other events during the Clermont-Ferrand Film festival?
Yes, I will take part in other events as much as I can. I will be staying in Clermont-Ferrand for few more days after the festival. I have been exhausted from working these days and I’m looking forward to taking time off and enjoying the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.