Titled with the name of a Korean cooking herb, Minari. Family history is a cute, funny, and evocative ode to how one generation of a family risks everything to establish the dreams of the next. The tape unfolds with all the intensity of a vivid memory. Although at first glance it sounds like a familiar story – the story of immigrants trying their own ‘American Dream’ – director Lee Isaac Chung takes a new and revealing approach.
This feature film produced by Brad Pitt hits theaters this Friday, May 12. The story coexists with detailed family memories that are powerful, joyous, and candid, contributing to a larger tale: the impact of the journey on a new generation of young Americans. It all begins when in the America of the eighties Jacob, a recently arrived Korean, takes his family from California to Arkansas, determined to forge a solid independence as a farmer, even if the land is shaking.
While Jacob views Arkansas as a land of opportunity, the rest of his clan is baffled by this most unexpected move toward new life on a tiny piece of land in the vast Ozark. However, it will be two unlikely members of the family, each at a different end of the spectrum, who will begin to forge the new path of the clan: the undisciplined seven-year-old wide-eyed David and his grandmother Soonja, alike. defiantly, you have just arrived from Korea by plane.
In the midst of such change, they clash at first, but soon discover the imperfect yet magical ties that root the family with their past as they face the future. With that lack of language typical of the immigrant, David becomes the vehicle of the feelings of a whole family adrift that tries to find the way. As the Arkansas dream threatens to burn out and bring down every member of the clan, Chung has the opportunity to explore how a family goes through not only the very specific dilemmas in the process of assimilation to rural America, but also broader issues of basic humanity. .
Korean immigrants to the US
It may be the occasion to see a Korean American who explains our history, but it also means a lot to the people of Arkansas or New York »
Lee Isaac Chung
The gaps that we all fight between family ties and independence, faith and skepticism, straddling the feeling of outsider and the longing for belonging. “For me, the movie comes down to expecting the best from each other. What he wanted most was to let the viewer enter the world of this family with sincerity and honesty, without judging anyone. It unites us much more as human beings than according to the superficial categories we have created, ”explains director Lee Isaac Chung.
“It may be the occasion to see a Korean American explain our history, but I have realized that these characters also mean a lot to the people of Arkansas, or New York, or wherever. That has been one of the most emotional things, seeing how a story so personal to me can move people so different in such significant ways, “says Chung. “As I was writing it, I had the feeling of using the last resort because I was thinking: ‘If I could leave my daughter a story. What would you like it to be like? ‘
“I wrote down eight visual memories from when I was the same age as my daughter; They ranged from my parents’ heated arguments in Arkansas, to the man who helped my father drag a cross through town, to my grandmother when she burned half the farm. Looking through those memories, I thought maybe this was the story I wanted to tell all the time, ”Chung details. What emerged was like a love letter to their parents, but at the same time also a love letter to all parents who try to ensure the future of their children.
It was important not to allow any of them to symbolize anything social or political »
LEE ISAAC CHUNG
It turned out to be a fiction, but one that she hoped would pay tribute to her parents’ tenacity in forging an American life that has not been written and that would also be a gift to their growing daughter. Although each character has their own comic bind, there is neither judgment nor satire. “I really admire all the characters in the film,” says Chung. “It was important not to allow any of them to symbolize anything social or political. And this is because I have had the privilege of meeting people like this who was part of my life, who gave me the freedom to focus on digging into what motivates them. I wanted to create people who are fully alive, people who invite you to discover more and more about them.