My Heart

This sumptuously mounted drama tells of the ill-fated life of one woman over a period of decades. The film opens in the 1920s, when a teenage Soonie is married off to the ten-year-old son of a provincial doctor. Though harassed by her traditionally minded in-laws, Soonie patiently goes about her duties until her husband returns from college with a stylish woman dressed in Western clothes. When she learns that her husband’s new friend is pregnant, Soonie quietly packs her bags and leaves. Bae Chang-ho’s colourful film follows Soonie as the years of her life tick by, her inherent decency being the only thing she can depend on. It’s another film about Korean identity, set at a time when the country’s traditional culture was vividly alive. At the heart of the story is the concept of jeong, which can be inadequately translated as a special kind of love or affection. More of a communal feeling than an individual one, it’s a sense of shared fate among members of a group that makes them feel responsible for the actions and welfare of others.
1999. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 116 min.

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