Growing up in South Korea

Issue 

REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN

Take Care of My Cat
Directed by Jeong Jae-eun
Starring Bae Doo-na, Lee Yo-won, Ok Ji-young, Lee Eun-sil, Lee Eun-ju
Distributed by Cinema Service Co, email <rachel@cinemaservice.com>
Screened at the 49th Sydney Film Festival

Take Care of my Cat delves insightfully into the difficulties and challenges facing young women growing up in South Korea today. Set in Seoul, it follows the lives of five friends who finished high school the year before. After graduation, their lives begin to take different directions.

Hae-joo (played by Lee Yo-won) pursues a career in an investment firm. She seems happy and is proud of her success. She is a little impatient and dismissive of her friends' difficulties in finding work. Reality catches up with her, however, and she has to come to terms with sexism and career barriers. Picture

Tae-hee (Bae Doo-na) works for her father and volunteers her time to help disadvantaged people, yet she is searching for a more fulfilling direction in life. Her care and concern for others is a pleasant contrast to Hae-joo's self-obsession.

Ji-young (Ok Ji-young) is an orphan who lives with her grandparents in a slum area of Seoul. She becomes alienated from her friends. She finds it very difficult to get work and is worried about her future. She adopts a stray kitten whose company she finds more of a comfort than her friends and family.

Take Care of my Cat is only the second female-directed film in recent years from Korea. It is Jeong Jae-eun's first feature-length film. At times sad, the film is a sobering yet compassionate and down-to-earth exploration of the uncertainties of life in Korea following the 1997 economic crisis. Take Care of my Cat exudes a real warmth and humanity which makes it a real joy to watch.

From Green Left Weekly, July 17, 2002.
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