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[EDITORIALS]Jibeuro's Family Lesson

May 10,2002
A local movie, "Jibeuro" (The Road Home), has become a major box office hit in Korea. The film, about the heartwarming love between a grandmother and her grandson, attracted 3 million viewers nationwide as of Wednesday.

Leading-role players Kim Eul-bun and Yoo Seung-ho, a child actor, have been nominated as best new actress and actor for this year's Grand Bell Awards, the Korean equivalent of the Academy Awards, each breaking the records of the oldest and youngest nominee. Tourists are reportedly flocking to the Jitong village in North Chungcheong province where the flick was shot. Doctors from the Korean Society of Bone Metabolism also went there to provide the villagers with free examinations and prescriptions for osteoporosis and gave them slip-proof socks to prevent broken bones. The love in the film has come out of the screen to spread in real life.

Finding a niche among blockbuster movies whose pure production costs range from 5 billion won ($3.9 million) to 10 billion won, the film spent just 1.5 billion won for production and another 2 billion won for marketing. The success of the low-budget movie seems rooted in the sad revelation that many modern people hunger for family love.

Korea's industrialization and urbanization came so rapidly that modern families are fragmented. In the movie, a woman is too busy to visit her hometown and her mother, who lives alone, taking her loneliness as her fate. And her urban grandson feels a wave of culture shock, as he stays with his old-fashioned grandmother. That presents a self-portrait of many Korean families.

"Jibeuro" sends the message that love among family members is not demanding anything from each other, while giving everything. Disastrous family relationships, in which members fight over what belongs to one another and want to get as much as they give, are the very source of all modern family problems. Love gives birth to love. We should not forget that only with such infinite love as the grandmother's love in the movie, can we solve all problems. Seeing a traffic jam lasting well into late night on Parents' Day and moviegoers flocking to "Jibeuro," we are relieved a little bit about the healthiness of our society.



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