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Ode to My Father (2014)

Gukjesijang (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 17 December 2014 (South Korea)
Trailer
1:15 | Trailer
Amid the time of Korean War, a young boy's vow to take care of his family marked the beginning of a lifelong promise spanning 60 years.

Director:

JK Youn

Writer:

Su-jin Park (as Soo-jin Park)
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18 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jung-min Hwang ... Yoon, Duk-soo
Yunjin Kim ... Youngja
Dal-su Oh ... Dal-gu
Jin-young Jung ... Yoon, Jin-gyu
Young-nam Jang Young-nam Jang ... Mother
Mi-ran Ra Mi-ran Ra ... Aunt Kkotbun
Seul-gi Kim ... Kketsun (as Seul-ki Kim)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stella Choe Stella Choe ... Maksoon
Jesse Day Jesse Day ... American Soldier
Yunho Jung Yunho Jung ... Nam Jin
Min-jae Kim ... Yoon, Dojoo
István Medvigy István Medvigy ... Maksoon's Husband
Inho Tae Inho Tae ... Yoon, Kijoo
Teresa Trnková Teresa Trnková ... German Nurse
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Storyline

Amid the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950, a young boy, Duk-soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them in place of his father. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in this generational epic about one man's personal sacrifices. Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean | English | German

Release Date:

17 December 2014 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The International Market See more »

Filming Locations:

Busan, South Korea See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,880, 28 December 2014

Gross USA:

$2,300,121

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$99,085,291
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

JK FILMS See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first Ditectorial for Youn JK in five years. His previous directorial to this was Haeundae. See more »

Goofs

The computer print-out of passenger manifest showed the modern typefaces in different font style and size as if printed from the inkjet or laser printer. Neither were available in 1980. The technology in 1980 would be typewriter font in one style and size along with characteristic appearance of ink ribbons as if printed from telex machines. See more »

Connections

Remade as Bharat (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A film possessing a remarkable balance of sentimentality and harshness, light and darkness
21 April 2015 | by ctowyiSee all my reviews

I love watching Korean movies. There is always something new to be discovered and their narratives can be out of this world in terms of inventiveness, crazy story lines, hard-hitting action, high melodrama and kinetic energy. If you have seen enough of Korean cinema, you will probably know your love for the current Korean flick is only there during the duration. The moment it ends, all memories of the film start to dissipate into oblivion. These are usually the dime in a dozen type of film. Ode to My Father belongs in the category of the 'two'. This one got the emotional beats spot on with nary any overt manipulativeness (which is a wonder) and it is easily one of the best films I have seen this year.

Synopsis - Amid the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950, a young boy, Duk- soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them in place of his father. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in this generational epic about one man's personal sacrifices.

Review - This film is ambitious in wanting to depict 60 years of tumultuous history through the life of one man. IMHO the movie manages to do just that. I like the strong sense of place and time. The staging of the epic scenes is so outstanding, I was easily pulled into the story. Absolutely love that refugee fleeing scene of Hungnam in 1951 which later becomes part of North Korea. It was heartbreaking to see how a pair of sister and brother get separated in the chaos. I also love the brilliant use of flashbacks to move the plot. How the flashbacks are triggered is seamlessly and creatively done.

Jeong-min Hwang (of New World fame) who plays Duk-soo, gives his character a cheeriness balanced with a sense of dogged purpose. His positive energy is affable and infectious, and his stubborn bickering with his wife and good friend, the source of many jokes. Dal-su Oh, Korea's busiest supporting actor plays Duk-soo's best friend, Dal-gu through the years. Their relationship is painted with much comedic strokes and full-hearted poignancy without those usual skull-numbing stylistics.

The immediate film you will no doubt compare this Korean film with is Forrest Gump which isn't a bad thing. But the similarity is only with its use of historical events. With Forrest Gump, a man is sanctified to God-like status and he unknowingly changes history, but with this one it doesn't walk that path. This is a story of a man whose his father's parting words at Hungnam haunts him to his core and he would take the entire duration of his life to live up to his father's words. The movie maintains an even tone throughout and I feel it is the historical events that change him. This is a film possessing a remarkable balance of sentimentality and harshness, light and darkness.


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