1. How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film? What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice? And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?
My view of the main character changed a lot throughout the film. The feeling was hard to read, as it switched so fast and erratically from a love story, to crime, to drama and back again. Motherhood is the obvious strong theme in this film, as it is the driving force behind the entire storyline. She is powerful, in the way that a mother can unexplainably lift a car off her child, that enables her to unravel an investigation to save her grown son, while still living a meager life herself. It is a love that anyone with a strong female presence in their life could understand, if to different degrees. It is a very strong look into the psychology of family ties, and I think the director made some parts of the movie inanalyzable, just to take us to a point where we quit trying to understand it and just relax and enjoy it. Although to the audience, it seems like the son is almost capable of the crime, it is Kim Hye-ja’s determination and mother-like affection that makes that outcome impossible, and it really gives an odd kind of hope to the protagonist. As for her unlicensed acupuncturist profession, at several points in the movie she points out her special knowledge of a pressure point on the thigh that, according to her, would regain all balance in one’s soul, and “loosen the knots in the heart and clear the horrible memories from the mind.” I believe her pricking of herself in these scenes are her attempting to lose her troubled thoughts, to erase the evils of her trying to kill herself and her son, and to forget all the unfortunate things she’s gone through. Its terribly dark and yet relatable.