France / 2018 / Korean, Japanese / Color / DCP / 70 min
Director, Script, Photography: Noh Young-sun
Editing: Céline Ducreux, Noh Young-sun
Sound: Bertrand Larrieu, Marie Bottois, Sato Yumi
Producer: Carine Chichkowsky
Production Company, Source: Survivance
The director lives in France, while her mother lives in Korea where she was born and raised—the director’s grandmother followed her lover to Seoul during the chaos of the Korean War. Her mother no longer has any memory of her grandmother, since they lost contact during the war. Conjecturing the name “Yukiko” for her grandmother, she spins together an intimate portrait of three women, including herself, whose blood relationship is almost the only thing that connects them. Her mother’s silhouette, daily activities, a nursing home, and Mabuni Hill: delicately filmed images of Ganghwa Island where her mother lives alone overlap with those of Okinawa where “Yukiko” chose to spend her last days. Fictional stories from two different islands mix and meet, evoking the tragedy of war. A universal question rings out, “Can you mourn for those you don’t remember?”
[Director’s Statement] A story untold, incomplete. I thought it not tellable. The will to do something with this impossibility. This desire led me on a journey to two islands in two countries. I met women and I recognized myself in their stories.
Yukiko is not the portrait of a unique woman, nor a story with a beginning and an end. I wanted, rather, to propose parts, like a musical variation, based on silence and absence. These parts unfold in fragments of memories, of imagination and encounters. This is an attempt to write a possible (hi)story with what remains today to me and to my generation.
Noh Young-sun was born in Seoul in 1979. She has lived and worked in France for thirteen years. During her studies at the School of Fine Arts of Grenoble in France, she developed her video art practice. Her interest and passion for experimental and documentary cinema led her to joint Documentary Film School of Lussas. Her student short documentary Prune Sauvage (2013) won the Graine doc prize at the festival Doc en courts in Lyon. She also regularly works as a film editor. Yukiko is her first feature-length documentary and it made its World Premiere at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam.