Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays
Nº7 2021 (1)
How To Cook When Instant Food Doesn’t Fill You Up
Claudia Bielsa Gómez Tostón Salazar, Nuria de Andrés Masa & Bahía Delgado Manso (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
“Instant food didn’t fill me up. I was serious when I said that I have returned because I am hungry.“ Little forest (Yim Soon-Rye, 2018) depicts the journey, both literal and metaphorical, that leads young Hye Won to be reborn. Leaving behind the “instantaneous” life of the big city after a professional conflict, the girl returns to the town where she was born and lived until adolescence. Contact with nature, new and old sensations, the pleasure of cooking and relationships with others will lead her to rediscover her true self — or, as her mother taught her, even if she didn’t realize at the time, her little forest: a small forest, a safe place that does not need grandiose gestures to make being alive worthwhile.
Yim Soon-Rye, director of Little Forest, did not return to her place of origin as her protagonist did, because she never left it: from the beginning of her filmography she wanted a type of cinema that was different from what the Korean billboards typically showed. In an industry full of fast-action blockbusters and dominated by men at all levels, it seemed impossible that a young woman with European cinema and the avant-garde as references could open a gap. However, after extensive training and great work behind the cameras — films she directed and films of other industry colleagues — she managed to be recognized in the world of cinema for works such as the short film Promenade in the rain (Yim Soon-Rye, 1994), Forever the Moment (Yim Soon-Rye, 2008), which dialogues with mainstream language to convey a clear feminist message to the general public, or Waikiki Brothers (Yim Soon-Rye, 2001), slightly controversial for certain sectors of the public and critics for having male protagonists and not dealing with problems exclusive to women. In Yim’s own words, “they thought that because she was a woman she had to make women’s movies.” Her goal is to tell stories as a sincere filmmaker and good storyteller, not just as a female director. The depth of his characters, the long shots that allow us to steal small glimpses of their lives and the attention paid to detail make her films, for viewers, taste like a good plate of homemade food: something made from the heart, as though it were a master craftswoman who kneads each ingredient with care and more care.
Reviewing the resources used by the director as if they were the different dishes on a menu, our audiovisual essay takes Yim’s career as a case study to delve into the idea of women’s cinema — asking questions such as: to what extent identity influences gender when making a film? Is women’s cinema truly a productive concept, taking into account that finding its definition is almost impossible? Finding answers to these questions is certainly a difficult task, but we hope that, like the seasons that Hye Won has to go through in Little Forest (Yim Soon-Rye 2018), the journey will be as enriching as her destination.
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How to cite this article: Bielsa, C., De Andrés, N. & Delgado, B. (2021) How To Cook When Instant Food Doesn’t Fill You Up. Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays, 7(1). ISSN: 2659-4269