Scattered Night (2019) **** Marrakech Film Festival 2019

December 3rd, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Sol Kim and Jihyoung Lee | S. Korea dram 90′

Sol Kim and Jihyoung Lee’s first film captures the trauma of family break-up seen through the eyes of two small children in this austere cinema verite drama that gradually builds into a convincing conclusion.

Little Seung-ah Moon (Sumin) is at the centre of it all. Barely ten, she intuitively taps into the imploding relationship of her increasingly alienated parents, searching in vain for guidance, assurance or a hint of stability as she struggles to understand how her parents still care for each other but now want the family to live apart. The questions she asks are basic and natural, but she never gets a proper replay, let alone any love or attention – apart from the occasional platitude and a throwaway comment: “you’ll understand one day”.

Scattered Night is an intense experience, the camera never leaving the child’s face through its entire running time in a compelling natural performance for one so young and vulnerable as Seung-ah Moon. But the filmmakers are not interested in Sumin’s ordinary parents, who carry their own emotional baggage from the past, influenced by society’s expectations of them, fleshed out in a sequence where grandma comes to stay. The focus here is the Sumin (Moon Seung- a) and her brother Jinho (Choi Junwoo) who are barely coping with the emotional confusion of the separation. Using sustained takes and languid pacing the filmmakers carefully observe the children’s reactions to their parent’s non-committal body language, avoiding sentimentality or melodrama in crafting a subtle and resonant snapshot that shares its tragic story full of complexity, uncertainty and pain. MT

SCATTERED NIGHT | Marrakech Film Festival 2019 


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