YIDFF 2013 International Competition
Tour of Duty
An Interview with Kim Dong-ryung, Park Kyoung-tae (Directors)

Multiplicity of Memory

Q: From the fixed camera shots in the scenes you staged, I sensed the space inhabited by the main characters (the three former prostitutes) and the history they embody. Tell us why you decided to film them in this way.

Kim Dong-ryung (KD): In my previous film American Alley, in which I follow several protagonists, I stayed in one place for a lengthy period of time and built a strong relationship with the characters. There I became interested in the idea of “space” and decided to next make a film about the relationship between people and space. At first we used the fixed camera so as to scrutinize the space well, but as our filming went on we found this approach successfully captured the moment our protagonist’s memory and the space became one, when she was speaking about her past.

Q: The Ghosts that appear in the staged scenes are not scary monsters or spirits, but are configurations of the women’s traumas. What intention did you have in presenting these figures?

Park Kyoung-tae (PK): When Park Myung-soo who I met through my previous film There Is told me about the base towns, it occurred to me that there could be ghosts there. I became determined to film them. In this film, it is the truck that appears after the scene where their memories and space merge. We situated it as our ghost. In other words, ghosts aren’t immediately visible. Only through observing the space and entering the protagonists’ memory can we feel as if we are on a journey led by the ghosts.

Q: The male- and female-voiced narration seems to be tracing the protagonists’ past, while also taking a somewhat objective and observational position.

PK: By walking through the town and putting themselves in that space, the women return to their past and speak of their reviving memories. We were inspired to take one step further from just recording this, and decided to use our own voices in recording the narration.

KD: This film is constructed through the memories of its subjects. And memory is not consistent. In order to represent the kaleidoscopic multiplicity of memory, I used my voice to speak on behalf of Ahn Sung-ja’s first person. It’s the voice of an alternative protagonist. We hoped that this will allow the film to be seen from many angles.

Q: Speaking of the multiplicity of memory, I feel that the whole film itself manages to project a multi-faced representation of the reality of the base town through your use of narration and ghostly presences.

PK: In this film, the approach we chose put us inside an individual’s trauma in order to depict an era. While the trauma was of an individual and unique nature, a mental scar is something we all can empathize with. By entering the memories of the three protagonists of this film, we were able to present a larger problem and a more universal trauma. By allowing the audience to feel this visually and not through explanation, we hoped their imagination will acknowledge the existence of the huge base town that once was, and wonder what lay beneath it.

(Compiled by Yamazaki Shiori)

Interviewers: Yamazaki Shiori, Ogawa Michiko / Interpreter: Nemoto Rie / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Sanpei Yoko / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2013-10-12