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The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World
2011년 05월 06일 (금) HyoJin Cha, Reporter hjcha@worldyannews.com

On Dec. 1996, an MBC TV show <The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World> was on the air. The story of a family who has to watch their mother (MoonHee Nah) dying of cancer touched many people’s hearts.

<The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World> was a special drama show made in two parts, written by one of the most famous and respected writers HeeKyung Noh. She wasn’t well known to the public then, and this drama gave her a nickname ‘The Next SooHyung Kim’, attracting many viewers’ attention.


A film director GyuDong Min brought this touching story into a film. He said “While I was planning to make this film, I thought a lot about my friend who died of pancreatic cancer. I also thought about my grandmother who passed away while I was shooting my very first film. I thought that making the film was the most important thing for me then, and so I barely visited her.”

However, right after he saw the play <The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World> directed by a TV producer JaeGyu Lee, he finished the screen play of it.


“I thought about my mother who died of cancer.” - JongOhk Bae

A middle-aged house wife InHee(JongOhk Bae) leads a busy life taking care of her family. She has to take care of the mother-in-law(JeeYoung Kim) who has Alzheimer’s disease, her husband (GabSoo Kim) who’s a doctor and always exhausted, her daughter (HaSeon Park), who’s in love with a married man and her son(DeokHwan Ryu) whose only interest is his girlfriend. And her younger brother(JoonSang Yu) is into gambling and always fighting with his wife (YoungHee Seo), wandering around InHee’s life.

The opening of the film is the brief presentation of InHee’s life. InHee has to make a breakfast for her mother-in-law and take care of her husband who has to go to work, and has to take care of her two children every morning. She is always busy but nobody really listens to what she says and her being is no different from that of a refrigerator that stands on the same spot forever. But the atmosphere gradually changes once she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer.


InHee who is facing death and her family who shares the same suffering now begin to grow up.
The story is already very well known to the public and had also been much loved as a TV drama, many could have doubts whether it could be good for a film. However, the director says that the basic story of a dying mother with cancer and her family is still the same but the atmosphere and energy of the film is modern compared to the original, made 15 years ago.

The director explains that the difference between the original and the film is that “the image had to be compressed into a movie and the character of mother became different”. “In the original, mother does not find out the situations her daughters and son are into until very late and also about her own illness. But in the film, the mother and other family members face each other’s problem directly and solve the conflict together, so the depth of the reconciliation is deeper and stronger.”

JongOhk Bae plays her character more firmly than the original character played by MoonHee Nah. She says “MoonHee Nah’s acting was so perfect and so I felt strong pressure. I tried to let the burden down while shooting the film. I kept telling myself that the film and the TV drama are two different things and asking myself ‘what am I missing? What do I have to express?’, trying my best to stay focused on every single moment.”

JongOhk Bae also mentioned that she kept thinking of her own mother who died of cancer, since most of her acting was focused on expressing her feelings. “I stayed with my mother until she passed away and I tried to express the feelings that I felt then, the sadness, the hopelessness.”


“Making ‘A new version of Kleenex movie’ was my goal” - Director GyuDong Min

<The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World> which received many love from the public not only as a TV drama but also as a play and a book, is now newly structured as more young and refreshing version, from the pair of ‘MoonHee Nah-Hyeon Joo’ version to ‘JongOhk Bae-GabSoo Kim’ version.

Each story of each member of the family engages with the painful story of InHee, making the film even sadder, but some of the humorous episodes are inserted between to avoid bringing too emotional investment from the viewers.

Director GyuDong Min says “I thought the most important thing to consider was to express the sadness not in an emotional way. I struggled to make this film a non-cliché or so-called Kleenex film.” So the choice of his directing point was to bringing an emotion that is similar to that of the moment when you find a new photo while looking at the old photo album.


“I didn’t want to cry out loud, emphasize, or pressure on the value of the family. My biggest goal was to help people to think about their own experience of parting, sympathize with the story of this film, and find a new emotional experience from the familiar scenes.” <The Most Beautiful Farewell in the World> was theatrically released on April 21, nationwide. (Photos by SooFilm)
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