VIFF review: South Korean domestic drama Moving On marks the notable directorial debut of Yoon Dan-bi

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      Moving on (Nam-mae-wui Yeo-reum-bam) (South Korea)

      In Korean with English subtitles. 105 min. Streaming online at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival from September 24 to October 7 at VIFF Connect

      The languid flow and episodic nature of this unassuming but keenly observed domestic tale effectively evokes the feel of summertime as a separated father takes his two children to move in with and care for their ailing grandfather.

      The initial spare and slow-moving opening sequences give way to a series of vignettes perked up by comedic touches, the arrival of their fun-loving aunt, and accumulating tensions.

      It’s daughter Okju (effortlessly portrayed by Choi Jung-un) who inhabits the emotional nexus of the drama, as she contends with the awkwardness of adolescence and a strained relationship with her distant mother. Her internalization of what transpires—from moments of levity to sibling squabbles—underscores the sensitivity of writer-director Yoon Dan-bi in articulating the effect that changes in living arrangements and intergenerational relationships can have upon youth facing the basic challenges of growing up.

      Even more impressive is that this is Yoon’s debut feature film. While Yoon’s work has invoked comparison to major names such as Hirozaku Kore-eda, Yasujiro Ozu, and Hou Hsiao-hsien, Yoon has already established a distinct mark of all her own.