My Own Breathing
KOREA / 1999 / Korean / Color / 35mm (1:1.33) / 77min

Director: Byun Young - joo
Photography: Byun Young - joo, Han Chong - gu
Script: Ahn So - hyun
Editing: Park Gok - ji
Sound: Kim Woon - young
Producer: Shin Hye - eun
Source: Pandora Co., Ltd.
Production Company: Docu - Factory VISTA
Kogeum B/D4F, 1535 - 9 Seocho - 3 - dong
Seocho - gu, Seoul 137 - 073 KOREA
Phone: 82 -2 -597 -5354 / Fax: 82 -2 -597 -5365

Byun Young - joo

Born in 1966. After graduating Ewha Women's University, did graduate studies in film at Jungang University. Independent filmmaker, helping to build a women - based filmmaking movement. Her video works Our Children and The Line of Battle were showed at YIDFF ' 91, and A Woman Being in Asia was screened at YIDFF ' 93. Her film Murmuring won the Ogawa Shinsuke Prize in New Asian Currents ' 95. Habitual Sadness was a Special Invitation Film at YIDFF ' 97 and was an Official Selection at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1998. My Own Breathing was completed in 1999. Murmuring and Habitual Sadness have enjoyed many screenings first in Asia and Australia and then throughout the world.

Yi Yongsoo, who now lives in Taegu, was 16 when she was taken by the Japanese Military as a sex slave to Taiwan, where she spent three years during World War II. She is now energetically engaged in activities to bring proper punishment to and receive compensation from those responsible for the crimes. While comforting fellow victims, who are worn out mentally and physically, she convinces them to give testimony in order to keep memory alive. Kim Yoonshim, who recently won the Cheon Taeil Literary Award (a labor literary award) for her writing based on her diary, was 13 when she was taken to Harbin, China. When she found out that her daughter was born with a hearing disability due to the syphilis she contracted at that time, she left home secretly and raised her daughter by herself. Despite the fact that she takes part in a demonstration every Wednesday and gives testimony around the country, to this day she is still unable to tell her daughter about her past.

Director's Statement
In the five years that have passed since I began work on my two previous films on Japanese military "comfort women,"five of the women who appeared in those films have died. I complete this third film, My Own Breathing, then, with a sense of grief and condolence. In those other two films, Murmuring (1995) and Habitual Sadness (1997), the main space shown was the alternative living cooperative known as "the House of Sharing."This time I asked for the testimony of other halmoni (a term of familiarity meaning roughly grandmother) who spoke of past and present life among family and neighbors.
The film is divided into two parts to point out that these halmoni express themselves in two ways. In the first part, one victim asks questions of other victims. But this woman who does not particularly wish to recall excruciating connections to the past, asks not in order to know, but rather in order to preserve memory. Eventually the interviews create a dialogue, a perfect replica of history, a past into which the present cannot intervene.
If the first part of the film is composed of the protective gaze of the camera, in the second half, the questions shift to the present, where my own role emerges. How do their pasts and my present confront each other? How is our time different and how is it the same? To me, making this film was to have a dialogue with these halmoni who face my camera, to face yet another death.

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee