Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Cart Director Boo Ji-young
  • by KIM Su-Yeon / 10.17.2014
  • “Especially interested in the weak in society”

    There are very few female directors who make commercial features in the Korea film pantheon. Among them, those who keep an eye on womens issues and make films about them are rare still. BOO Ji-young is one of them. Cart, a film about temporary workers, deals with the existential problems of people in the lower strata of society. 
    Cart was recently introduced in the City to City section of the Toronto International Film Festival. How were the reactions from the press and spectators? 
    The poor condition of temporary workers and the issues they face are global. Since this film frames a story of their unjust situation, both the East and the West can sympathize with it. However, I was quite surprised because the amount of viewers and press that felt the same way was much larger than what I expected. During the Q&A, a foreign viewer even expressed appreciation saying he was grateful because the issue the film presented was something that everyone should seriously think about. Reactions from the foreign press and local critics were also better than my expectations. I would have been happier if I had been with my colleagues, I thought of our staff members a lot.
    I heard that you were able to lower the production budget by virtue of the devotion of your staff and actors who sympathized with the themes of the film. Looking at your filmography, I can see that you usually deal with stories about women, or people in weak social situations to be precise. Are you planning to keep making films about them?
    Head staff members looked at the intentions of this film favorably, so they helped us with our labor needs. We agreed that I would pay them below average, but I could share profit with them if it exceeds the break-even point. The producer invested a lot energy to persuade them. I felt very sorry seeing him take care of all this difficult work for me. Once we got through the tough start, the bond and trust among actors and staff became very tight.
    As far as I know, you spent a long time adapting the scenario. Was there a particular process, such as interviewing actual women working at markets, or collecting stories? 
    Of course I met and collected materials from them. As for showing how tough the conditions temporary workers face, there were sufficient news resources, so I relied on data from news articles to complete the script. I even learned that some managers disguised themselves as mystery shoppers to sneak into the markets to monitor the clerks and part time workers who organize labor unions and they would be penalized although this is not really covered in the film.
    When the protagonists Seon-hee (YUM Jung-ah) and Hye-mi (MOON Jeong-hee), who struggle to protect whats theirs by pushing and pulling carts, scream at the end of the film, it reminded me of Thelma & Louise (1991). It was sad but thrilling. 
    They are not real sisters but just as close as siblings. Im very interested in sisterhood stories. The concept of women in different circumstances and with different characteristics sympathizing with each other as they shout out to the world is the common thing between the two films. However, they have different endings. While the ending of Thelma & Louise is thrilling and tragic, the women in Cart band together. I think my film is more optimistic. 
    It seems like the image of water is always important in your films. The sea was an important image in Sisters On The Road (2009), as was the still lake in Moonwalk (2011). This time, once again, the image of water cannon at the climax of Cart is intense. 
    I was born and raised in Jeju Island. Maybe thats why I like water. To me, water is something that purifies people. So I used positive and warm images of water in the previous films, but I used the opposite image in this film. It is negative and cold. In addition, water is not stagnant and still as it moves and scatters. I used the image of water again, but in a totally different way. 
    Looking at your filmography, I can see that you usually deal with stories about women, or people in weak social situations to be precise. Are you planning to keep making films about them?
    I didn
    t intend to do so. I dont rationally decide what I want to make a film about. Rather, I am naturally interested in something I feel I lack, or what society lacks. Since my marriage, I have acutely felt that women are socially suppressed, and accordingly I have come up with stories concerning the weak in society. I am especially interested in their existence. So I would like to keep talking about women who live their lives independently.
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