Article. Kim Rieun, Im Sooyeon (CINE21 Reporter), Kim Gyeoul (writer), Kang Ilkwon (RHYTHMER, Music Critic)
Design. Jeon Yurim
Day by day with Suki
Kim Rieun: Ours is an era of deficit built on the back of abundance constantly within arm’s reach. Actor Moon Sook’s YouTube channel, Day by day with Suki, revels in the value of emptiness, which is a quality that’s hard to find in present-day society. Born in 1954 and now 68 years old, Moon became a yoga instructor and an expert in natural food—her own unique way of resolving personal trauma and coping with the ups and downs of life. Through her channel, she documents her way of life, such as doing yoga in the woods or sharing a natural recipe that makes use of vegetables and minimal seasoning. Unlike typical YouTube videos, those on Day by day with Suki undergo only the lightest editing, beckoning the viewer to become fully immersed in the experience together.

As viewers follow Moon’s natural recipes, they soon realize that sweet pumpkin soup can be made creamy without using milk and that salt can be used to bring out the natural sweetness of the ingredients rather than simply resorting to sugar. It almost seems like a guide for those who haven’t yet fully committed to coexisting with nature in this era of climate change as Moon explains the differences between natural, vegetarian and vegan diets, and smiles at a bug that lands on her fingers during a yoga session. She states that cutting off meat “one step at a time, day by day,” is better long-term and advises people not to push themselves on ingredients that don’t suit their tastes, suggesting that what’s most important is that they listen to the signals their body is sending them instead. Moon also advises viewers, “Don’t let your thoughts be limited by the idea that you’re only happy when you accomplish something,” suggesting the way to awaken your sense of the fundamental value of everything around you is to show gratitude toward all things, not adhere to any one philosophy. “Living life naturally, in the ways of nature”—words of wisdom for living every day to the fullest.

The Apartment with Two Women

Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter): What sort of relationship must exist between two women to share the same pair of underwear? It doesn’t seem that odd once you realize that Yi-jung (Im Jee-ho) and Su-kyung (Yang Mal-bok) are mother and daughter. Although the two share one of the most intimate personal possessions possible, Su-kyung is so disinterested in her daughter that she even forgets to attend her graduation ceremony. Their jaded indifference escalates until it comes to a head when Su-kyung runs over Yi-Jung with her car. The mother believes that her early pregnancy led her to a miserable life, and her daughter was deprived of proper love. Together, the two go against the ideas of motherhood and family that society deems normal. The film puts the details of their lives under a microscope to provide clues to understanding the macroscopic world, exploring family problems through a war fought between mother and daughter. The independent film won five awards at last year’s Busan International Film Festival and was screened at various film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival.

A Rider Is on Their Way (Kang Hye-in, Heo Hwanju)
Kim Gyeoul (writer): What kind of people are we? The answer comes automatically for many Korean smartphone users: Delivery people, a literal translation of the name of the country’s most popular food delivery app, Baedal Minjok. What started as a marketing ploy is now a symbolic catchphrase that perfectly describes our world after COVID-19. While food delivery motorcycles were always a common sight on the streets, groceries and laundry have since joined in the name of innovation. And innovation extends beyond goods: One-time designated drivers and housekeepers are “delivered” wherever you want them with a single tap on an app. And in the process, who profits, who takes responsibility and where do we currently stand on the issues as a society? A Rider Is on Their Way shines a light on the reality facing gig workers that people were once oblivious to or simply chose to ignore. Two reporters tried doing deliveries themselves and talked with gig workers to find out more.

Gig work is convenient since it guarantees freedom, but it also comes at the expense of liability and certain financial burdens. Although it can be an easy side hustle for people who have some free time, and though it eliminates the need for short-term designated drivers to maintain a relationship with drinking establishments and their patrons, safety training is short and the individual contractor is held responsible for accidents. It’s the usual story of companies passing all the burden to their subcontractors and services passing the risk down to the workers. Now that the Serious Accidents Punishment Act has been passed in South Korea and a lawsuit was filed over the status of gig workers in California, it’s time to think carefully about where our labor force stands today and where it should be heading in the future.
“Lord of the Flies” feat. QM (Jngkn)
Kang Ilkwon (RHYTHMER music critic): Lyrics that exhume the ugliness and foulness of society are one of the biggest reasons why people find rap and hip hop so engaging. Society might be the nation itself, or in some songs, the creative scene that the artist works within. When both the music and the message are good, conscious rap gives listeners thrills that no other genre can offer. QM is one of the few rappers in the Korean hip hop scene that dabbles in this variety of rap. Jngkn, a rapper and up-and-coming hip hop producer, has his finger on the pulse of society in “Lord of the Flies,” a song off his EP Black Comedy. He penetrates the darkness and contradictions found in the Korean hip hop scene and is the very embodiment of mixed emotions throughout his flawless rap. His chic flow and perfect delivery, layered over rich beats, haven’t changed one bit. Jngkn’s clever rhythms are another reason he deserves praise. With compositions focusing on reverb and different combinations of sound, a whole slew of loops brimming with highlights and noises added for accent without becoming obnoxious, it’s a perfect abstract hip hop track. The song ends on a pessimistic yet cathartic note, and an earworm at that: “That’s how you become a fly, / To become a Lord of them all, smudge yourself / You gotta be the color of rock bottom to be famous.”