A Distant Place (2020) - full transcript

Jin Woo, who resides on a sheep ranch in Hwacheon, Gangwon-do, lives a quiet life with his daughter Seol. Ranch owner Joong Man and his daughter Moon Kyeong treat them as family. Soon after, Jin Woo's male friend Hyun Min arrives at the ranch, and reveals that the two have been long-time lovers. They dream of living happily with Seol in this peaceful place. However, with Jin Woo's twin sister Eun Young's visit, the conflict begins. In fact, Seol is Eun Young's daughter but Jin Woo has been raising her because Eun Young disappeared. Like the close-up scene of the sheep wool in the beginning, A Far Place is a story that is not noticed from afar but revealed when looked closely. The local folks, who seemed friendly and gentle, show their true colors, and become exclusive and discriminatory as they learn about the truth of the two men. Even the intentions of family members, who thought they knew each other well, feel like 'a far place.' Like Jin Woo's mind, the beautiful autumn landscape of Gangwon-do turns into harsh winter, but the film believes there is still a ray of hope.

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How was the trip?

It was a total waste of time.


Granny sheep is dead.


I thought she was getting better
the past few days.

I didn't think that was a signal.

Did you give her a decent burial?

Yes. We buried her in the woods.


How did the meeting go?

And you Seol, did you help out too?

The meeting was a waste of time.

There doesn't seem to be a solution.

Well, when the cattle market opens next week

They're going to close it down
for another two weeks.

Another two weeks?

They found the virus again in Gimpo.

Damned virus.

Mr. Huh came by earlier on.


Did he want money for the cattle feed?


We can't afford to pay him
until we sell the cattle.

He should know better.

I heard they're going to hike the price again.

Those crooks.


Yes. He's outside.

This is Seol.


Seol, Who was that?

I don't know.

Seol, eat slowly.

You're gonna have a tummy ache.


I want corn.

I'll make you steamed corn after dinner.

When will you stop calling
your daddy "mommy"?


Oh come on!

I used to call my father "mother".

Really? How come?

When I was little, my mother was ill

and she was in the hospital for months.

I stayed at my aunt's.

That's when I started calling
my father "mother",

and my aunt "grandma".

Who did you call 'father'?

I don't think there was anyone.

Then my mother came home

but I kept on calling my father "mother".

Whenever I saw my mother,
I would just stare at her.

She must have been sad.

I heard she cried a lot.

Seol's probably doing the same thing.

Is your friend coming tomorrow?


That handsome fellow?

Yeah. I suppose you could say that.

What did you say he did for a living?

He's a writer. He writes poetry.


I hope I didn't wake you.

No. But Seol just fell asleep.

Oh, already?

She said she wanted corn
so I brought some for her.

Thank you.

I'll have some.

Do you want to join me?

No, it's late.

Enjoy. Have a good rest.


Good night.

Uh, I was wondering…
What are you doing this weekend?

Well, I thought I'd show my friend
around Hwa-cheon.

- Oh, yeah. He's coming tomorrow.
- Yes.

Is there something you want to…?

Oh, it's nothing. Have a good night.

Seol, the bus is coming.

I can't wait to see him.

Uncle Hyun-min!


Seol! Look at you. You're a big girl now.

I have a present for you.



Do you like it?

I do!

There're a lot of gifts

Long trip, eh?

I had to wait two hours for that bus.
I had to wait two hours for that bus.

Let's go. I'll show you the farm.

I couldn't wait to see your place.

Let's go Seol.

Are you going to put those in the rice?

Yes, I'm making potato rice.

He says he's never had it before.


They don't have that in Seoul?

Would you like to try some?

It's pretty good.

Pretty good?

It's good enough to bring your husband back.

I thought the saying went, "good enough
to make in-laws come back for more".

It was always the husband according
to my grandma's version.

You're in a good mood today?

Am I?

Did you have a look at the farm?

Yes, I did as soon as I got here.

What a beautiful place you have.

The sheep were so docile.

You know that's not true.

Sheep are stubborn animals.

They are disobedient.

They're just like us.


Is that so?

They seemed mild and gentle.

I guess I was wrong.

Did you know that Jin-woo can be stubborn?


Oh, I guess I must have overlooked
that side of Jin-woo.

Nah. He's making fun of me.

Are you friends from school?

Yes. We've been friends since college.

I majored in literature and he was in fine arts.

Fine arts? I didn't know that.

Were you a painter?


- He never told you?
- Yes.

He painted, did some design work.

We met at an institute where
I was taking drawing classes.

Wow, can you draw me something?

Oh, it's been too long. I don't draw anymore.

Why not?

Oh, it's been too long. I don't draw anymore.

What a surprise.

I had imagined you as an ex-martial arts
fighter or something like that.

- Ex-martial arts?
- Yes


This is… Seol.

This is Mama.

This is Moon-kyung.



Okay, Go get some rest.

Thank you for everything.

Seol, let's go.

- Call it a night?
- Yes.

Do make yourself at home.

Oh, thank you.

Let me know if the room's not warm enough.

You can keep this Nana.

- Join us again next time
- great

Watch out for the stairs.

Ok, thank you for your treat.

Seol, get changed before you play.

Would you like a taste?

Nice place you have.

Let me help you with the bath

All of you

Do you like that?

Don't do that again.

Today's lesson seems interesting

So I'll leave it to you.

Take care.

Thank you. See you next time.

- He's here.
- Uncle?

So? They're gonna open the class?

Yeah, they decided to do it.


- Uncle
- Umn?

Uncle, so you're not a bum anymore?

No, uncle's not a bum anymore.

What did you tell Seol about me?

That you're a great bum?

Seol, do you know what a bum is?

Yes. Someone like you.

I reckon the market will open
next week at the earliest.

All right. I'll see you next week.

I understand.
There's nothing we can do about it.

Today's not a good day for me.

I don't drink much these days.

Yes, all right.

I'll join you then.

Shouldn't Seol be in kindergarten?

I don't want to send her to kindergarten.

Why not? Don't you want her to make friends?

As if you had many friends in school.

Me? I was a total ‘insa'. An insider.

‘Insa'? Poets don't talk like that.

What's wrong with that?

I can say whatever I like.

‘Insa', insider… Very funny.

You know,

the school years were terrible.

I don't want her to go through that.
At least for now.

I want her to run around the hills,

to play with sheep, catch insects…

I think that's better for her. At least for now.

Aren't you projecting your own fears?




Wish me luck.

What do you think is

the most difficult part of writing
one's first poem?

It's just hard.

- That's right
- Yeah

It's difficult to be inspired, to conceive an idea,

to write a good sentence.

But I think the most difficult part is to think outside the box.

It's more difficult than you might think to
break away from your usual ideas.

- Yeah
- Right?

So today, we're going to do a simple exercise

to practice this.

"cell phone"

What are the things can you do
with a "cell phone"?

"To take out"

"To take out the cell phone" Good.

‘To take out' Anything else?

‘Put in the pocket'

‘Put in the pocket'

‘To put the cell phone in the pocket

‘Put in the pocket'

What else can you tell me?

‘To throw'

‘To throw' ‘To throw the cell phone'

‘To throw'

Let's do one more.

- Here.
- Yes

‘To smash'

‘To smash the cell phone'

Great. ‘To smash the cell phone'

Now, let's switch this word
‘cell phone' to something else.

It's now autumn,

so how about ‘autumn'?


‘To take out autumn'

‘to put autumn in the pocket'

‘to throw autumn'

‘to smash autumn'


It seems to work. How do they sound?


Right? Isn't it fun?

I think the last one is the best.

By doing this, we can practice breaking the fixed
ideas between an object and its predicative.


Are you feeling good today, Grandma?

Are you enjoying Seol's company?

Nana, do you want a shampoo?

No. Nana's already shampooed her hair.

We're all done.

Wash your hands, Seol.


Let's dry your hair.

Try not to think too much.

Write whatever comes to your mind.

Feel free to show me.

- See you next class.
- See you.

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye

When did you get here?

A minute ago. How was it?

Great. Everyone's so nice here.

Looks like you're doing a good job.

Where did you get this?

Hop on!

Where are we going?



Yeah. Very far.

You know how to drive this thing, right?

No doubt.

Please don't kill me.

It's nice. No one's around.

It is quiet.

Don't you ever get bored?

Time goes really fast when I'm sitting out here.

I can sit here all day.

I should try that then.

Now I also have you.

Nana, look at this. It's rice.

It's wet.

What's this?

Should I pluck this?

This looks like a butterfly.

Sweep over there.

Nana, did you have fun?

Who are you?

What? What is it?


She says she's a twin sister of…


I'm married.

I opened a little cafe with the money
I've been saving up.

Why are you here?

How did you know I was here?

Whether you like it or not, we're still a family.

Is that how you say ‘hello' around here?


Do you want to take Seol now
after all these years?

You dropped out of sight
and never got in touch…

You can talk.

Do you plan on hiding with Hyun-min
for the rest of your lives?

What was it that you said?

You said you'll come back for her
within a month.

That you'll come back for her
as soon as you find work.

But did you?

Do you think I had a choice?

I scraped up every penny after
that son of a bitch ran off…

You never came to see Seol.

Now I can take care of everything.

I came here to make things right.

When you left Seol five years ago,
it was for good.

Got you, you're moving!

One, two, three... Ready or not


Seol, stop staring.

It's rude to do that at the dinner table.

Seol, what is it?

How come they're twins
but don't look like each other?

Oh, that's because they're fraternal twins.


Yes. Identical twins look alike.

Fraternal twins look different.

And also, he's a boy and she's a girl.

They don't look like each other
but they're still twins?

Yes. They were born together.

Now they're making the same sulky face. Look.

Yes. They're making the same face.


I brought some comfy clothes.

Oh, thank you.

She is sound asleep.

Have a good night.

I'll think about it.

You think about it too.




You're up?

Oh, it stinks in here.

Get up.

What's wrong?

Get up.

What's going on?

Leave me alone!

No, Grandma. You have to go to the bathroom.

Leave me alone!

What's wrong, Grandma?

Come on. Please.

Come on. Please.

Why should I go to the bathroom?

Go away.

Grandma, I'm sorry.

But you have to, please.

Go away.

Why are you bothering me.

Why don't you ever get out of the house?

Is that to pick on me?

Go find yourself a husband!

Stop bothering me. Why won't you bugger off!

Grandma. I hate it as much as you do.

We must get you cleaned up.

But come on. Get up.

Leave me alone!

Oh, you came?

Seol, Nana's here. Let's get you down.


Seol, you came too.

I'll take this one too

I'm gonna take this one

Mrs. Choi, how was the appointment?

She's been in a bad mood all day.

Is it getting worse?

It's only going to get worse.

She seems to be in a bad shape today.

Anyway, it's good that you came.

We had to do some grocery shopping.

Great. We'll go together.

Grandma, let's do some shopping at the
market and eat something nice.

She eats well.

This is the only and all-time favorite of hers.

Just a moment, please.


I'm still in Hwa-cheon.

I think I'll be stuck here for another few days.

Jin-woo insists on keeping her.

What are you taking about?
I'm bringing her with me.

Oh, I don't know. I'm sorry but…

Can you look after the cafe…

for a couple more days?

I know you're afraid to let the
little one out into the world.

But you can't hold on to it for too long.
You hear me?


Thank you for spending time with us.

Don't mention it.

That's why it's important to express
something in writing.

Think about it.

Do you fully experience your emotions?

Are you fully sad when you're sad,

fully happy when you're happy,

fully angry when you're angry?

More often than not, we fail to
feel the emotions to the full extent.

Because we tend to repress them.

Carefully observe what you've
been feeling lately

and put that into writing.

From our next class, we'll take turns to
read our weekly assignment out loud.

I'm going to write something too
and read it out to you.

We'll read and share our thoughts.

- Ok
- sure

I'm also happy to be here for classes

- I've learnt a lot too.
- Really?

Since this is our first gathering
with our young poet and our tutor,

this is on the house.

- Thanks
- well done

Isn't it a bliss to sit around a barbecue?

Like what teacher said,

help yourself to the meat and feel it
to the full extent.

Oh, barbecue.

Oh, happiness.

You're Joking

Thank you.

- Help yourselves.
- Let's dig in


- Cheers!
- Cheers!

By the way, what made you move down here?

Oh, I was living in Seoul
but I got tired of the city, so…

Do you plan on staying here?

- Yes, I plan on living here.
- Really?

I have a question. Do you have a girlfriend?

Uh… yes. I do.

- As expected
- Is she in Seoul?

- Is she pretty?
- Yes.

How can such a handsome guy
not have a girlfriend?


Nana, where are you going?

Where are you going?

There is someone I need to see.

I'll come back soon.

You stay here.


I'll be back soon.

Go and play.

Don't be long.

Seol, where is Nana?

Nana said she had to go somewhere.

Somewhere? Where?

Where did she go?

- What's going on?
- Grandma's missing.


Where did she go? Seol

Which way did she go?

Come on.

I'm pleasantly drunk.

You're drunk?

Nice people, nice weather, nice smell.

You seem chirpy?

You have something to tell me, don't you?

Is she insisting on taking her this time? Seol?

Am I being selfish?

What are you going to tell Seol?

What's going on?

Oh, he y.

The old lady had been gone…
But we found her soon enough.

We could have lost her forever.

She spoke well though.

She probably came around to herself…

which makes me more nervous.

Look at the bright side.

You should talk to her more often.

You don't have to worry too much.

Thank you.

Sorry to trouble you at such late hours.

Oh, don't mention it. She is in good condition.

No wounds.

All right. You should go now.

If you have any problem,
don't hesitate to call me.

I have to leave

We'll get going.

Thank you.

-Take care. -Okay

Wanna sit down?

I know it's terrible but…

I couldn't help thinking

what it would've been like if Seol
also went missing.

I can't even imagine.

Don't say that.

I know what you're thinking.

I know it's nice out here.

But you know what,

I think it's important for her to have
what all the other kids have.

It really is.

I can raise her now.

I'm gonna be a good parent.

We'll visit from time to time.

I promise.

Do you think you can convince Seol?

Don't have too much of that.

How's mother? Is she asleep?


She chatted a lot before she fell asleep.

She's hale.

I'm scared that she might suddenly pass away.

I know it's difficult for you.

Look after yourself.

I can't do this again.

I'm worried about you.

Please don't start.

I can take care of myself.

Do you like Jin-woo?


I do

What is it with you today?

What? Are you worried that your daughter
might end up marrying a man with a kid?

It's not that.

Then what?

Let's call it a night.

You always do that, Dad.
You never finish the sentence.


Aren't you too old to be calling me ‘mom'?

It's disgraceful.

Wake everyone up. Tell them to eat breakfast.

What are you waiting for?



We have to start early tomorrow.


Are you going somewhere tomorrow?

Yes, to the cattle market.

It'll be open for the first time
in almost two months.


Come for the meal!

Do you want to come along?

- I want this one
- Can I?

Here you are

Eun-young, can you look after Seol
and Mrs. Kim? Is that all right?

Thank you for the meal.

Mrs. Kim,

Mrs. Kim, thank you for the meal.

What are you making?

Sweet rice drink.

Oh, so this is how you make it.

It's important to watch it and wait it out.

Is that your mommy?

I don't know.

I can tell by the face.

You have the same eyes.

I don't know.

I'm gonna live with Nana.

Nana has to live with Papi.

How silly…

Feeling sentimental about
a product I have to sell.

- Let's go.
- All right.

Give it to me

This one? Here you go.



Give me that for a second.


Give it to me.


Min-woo, what's wrong?

What's wrong?

I'm sorry.

Seol! Why did you do that?

Why did you take what's not yours?

Get up.

Come with me

Stop it. Leave her alone.

Stay out of it. She needs to learn a lesson.

She's a child.

Come with me.

Don't you do that to my daughter!

She's not your daughter.

I said don't.

You have no right to do this.

Did you say ‘right'?

And you have the right to?

She calls you, a guy, mommy
for crying out loud.

She calls one of you mom, and another dad.

Is that normal?

What's wrong with that?


Let's not make a scene.




I knew there was something going on.

It's not normal.

We shouldn't judge them.

It's not normal at al

Do you think it makes sense?

It's ridiculous.

You know what they say in church?

Between a man and a man…

We shouldn't be too quick to judge.

No, well...

It just doesn't make sense.

When I saw them at the farm…

Far was a synonym for expensive

We would be gone

As far as we could afford

But we couldn't dare afford to
imagine a farther place

Because the precipice
was precipitating every day

We had to go before it vanished

The farther place was dissolving every day

Boulders fell, dirt crumbled away

Plants which their roots had bulged
out of the dirt

Plopped into the sea one by one

The sound of something vanishing day by day

Would be swallowed by the sound of the waves.
Thus would never be heard

As we imagined the farther place,
we grew uneasy

Whether we were getting it right,
that we would not know

How hard we tried, we would not know

Whether we would be right or wrong
about our imagination

We would only get close to the lie

While we were imagining the farther place,

he place near us was tripping every day

The place near us was way off our imagination

We would tumble over a rock,
lose our soil, doubt our roots

To endure was to fall

The sound of the fall was too small
that it would be unheard

Still, we imagined of the farther place

While we stood in a place near us

Only that could keep us from
falling off the precipice

Seol, don't run.

How are you, Ms. Jang?

Seol, come on.

They're letting me go anyway.

They're laying you off?


It's okay. I'm used to this.

I'm sorry.

About what?

About everything.

Don't pity me.

Are you insulting the greatest bum
that ever existed?

Seol. St ay where I can see you.

Don't go in the waters.


Yummy. Go on.

These little ones, they eat a lot.

No. No more.

If I do this, they keep following me.


All right. Okay.

Just a little more.

Don't they scare you, Seol?

They don't.

Lady. You try.

Come on.

Play time. Yeah!

Is it yummy?

Good girl.

Do I give them this?


Like this?

Oh dear!

Oh, no. Seol.


Seol, when did you get here?

We were supposed to go to
bathhouse together.


Oh, I was going to take a walk
and she wanted to come along.

Oh, I see. Are you all right?


I'm fine. Are you going to the bathhouse now?

No. Maybe some other time. It's late.

Seol, let's have a bath at home today.
Later in the evening.

Later in the evening.

Okay! Don't start without me.

Did you finish feeding the sheep?

Seol, can you take this for me?

Shall we go somewhere
that's far away from here?

Far? Where?

I don't know. Anywhere.

We'll go somewhere that's far away.

Maybe we can go to a farm in another country.

We'll work together.

When we save up some money,
we can get a farm of our own.

On the front, we can open up a B&B.

You can start painting again.

Is Mr. Kim home?

No, he went to Chuncheon.
He won't be back until tonight.

All right. Take care.

Yes, goodbye sir.

Are you going?


Take care.


They're so mean.

Thank you.

Don't say that.
You're making me feel more awkward.

I thought you disliked me.


It was obvious that I liked you
but you didn't seem to notice

so I wondered if you were pretending
to not notice or even disliked me.

I'm sorry.

Nah, I'm glad I let it out.

Ah, it's rejuvenating.

What? Are you trying to sound like a granny?

Mom said this is what you have to say
when you're in the hot tub.


Now it's your turn to soap up.


I'm gonna brush up

Is it rejuvenating?

Yes. It's rejuvenating.

I'll rub some more.

Moon-kyung, why are you crying?

Huh? I'm not crying.

I'm heading back to Seoul tomorrow.

I'm sorry about the other night.

I know.

Then the fox appeared and said, '

Like my flowers, you are one of many children.'

But if you become friends with me,

you become a special child to me.'

The little prince realized that the flowers he left

behind in the stars were very special.'



One sees clearly only with the heart.

Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.'

Do you hate me, too?


The little prince kept the
fox's words in his heart.'

The little prince started walking with me

looking for water to drink.'

We spent days and days in the hot desert.'

What is it, Seol?


Huh? Let's go to the toilet.


I'm not done.

It's okay. Take your time.


I'm not going anywhere.

He's the guy from the farewell, right?

Is the man who lives in the pasture?

Disgusting guy

Is he looking at us?

Why does he keep staring at us?


Are you mad at those people?


I can understand.

But… You're a little too edgy right now.

I'm not.

You don't have to be so hostile.
So much as to…

As to what?

You know. You get too worked up.
Just like now!

I thought it would be different here.

It's all the same everywhere.

Let's try not to be too demanding.

Shall we?



I'm being demanding?

I'm being demanding? Huh?

Am I?

It's all about what you want.

The insecurity and the betrayal you
feel around those people,

the fact that you don't want to send
Seol away…It's all about what you want.

Do you know how hard
I've been trying to fit in here?

What do you know about that? Huh?

Do you have any idea what I
went through to raise Seol?

Don't talk to me like that.

Why do you think I wouldn't know?

Everything went wrong since you came.


I was never comfortable
when you were around

wondering what those people
might think of us,

And you're the one who told
my sister where I was.

Hey, that's…

- Don't tell me you didn't.
- I...

You were the only one who knew.

Did you think I was totally clueless?

Wouldn't it be…

Wouldn't it be weirder if I hadn't told her?

You ruined everything.

Do you mean that?








Did you contact them?

They're searching for her right now.
But it sounds like it's a small team.

Yes. They've also contacted
the military force for help.

No, it's not good.















Wake up.

Let's go home.




Did you fall asleep?

Where's Nana?


Where's Nana?

She went to see Grandpa.

I'm cold.

Let's go home.


Yes, mommy.

Shall we make a promise?

What promise?

That you won't call me mommy anymore.


Soon you'll go to school…

Make friends and…



Do I have to call you ‘daddy'?

I'm sorry.

About what?

Seol is like my baby daughter to me.

Thank god you found her.

Sooner or later,
I was going to tell you everything.

I kind of assumed.

I could tell by the eyes.

I've been reading the eyes of animals
for god knows how long.

You don't have to know everything
about something to understand it.

Thank you for everything.

Are you leaving?

I think I should.

I don't think they like me very much here.

Where to?

I'm not sure.

I can go back to Seoul.

I thought you came all the way down from
Seoul so you can get away from people.

You wouldn't find anywhere with less people.

I don't want to be a burden.

I was forty when I first set foot here.

I raised my daughter on my own,
sent her to college…

She always wanted to get away from here

but doesn't look like that's going to
happen anytime soon.

Have you never thought of leaving here?

After all these years,

I've nowhere else to go.

Unless the country gets unified

and I can take my mother to…

But that's no longer an option.

If I could…

I would like to see Seol grow up here.

Are you leaving to be with him?

We're all set.



It's coming.