If there is a deep, natural connection between wildly different cultures, it is family, an association which audiences the world over identify immediately and strongly if ambivalently. Chul-Soo Park’s zesty Farewell, My Darling provides convincing evidence that large Korean families behave with the same foolishness, grace, lunacy, and odd humor as extended families everywhere.
In <i>Farewell, My Darling</i>, sons (including the filmmaker himself), daughters, brothers, sisters, in-laws, and a bastard, not to mention local politicians, coffee shop waitresses, neighbors galore, and a blast from the past, convene from all over Korea and Chicago to pay their final respects to Mr. Park, an older, but not elderly, man who is now a corpse and celebrate his funeral. According to raucous custom, a celebration, to which it seems virtually everyone is invited, is required to send the spirit of the deceased off properly. There is of course much wailing, some prayer giving, a little fornication, and a tremendous amount of eating and drinking; in the process, relationships are reordered, confessions made, and domestic history reinvented. <i>Farewell, My Darling</i>, at once exuberant and candid, is an astringent human comedy by one of South Korea’s leading filmmakers, whose haunting 301 302 screened at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival.
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