There’s no perfect family. There is no precise definition of happiness or honesty because it is open to interpretation. But when it comes to decency and dignity, the definitions should be undisputable. Watching movies like “A Bedsore” is hard. It’s not easy to process because it opens the wounds of a family portrait that is never perfect.
From writer/director Hye-jung Shim, “A Bedsore” follows an emotionally collapsed family. Gang Chang-sik (Jong-goo Kim), is a retired civil servant who lives with his wife, Na Gilsoon (Guk-hyang Jeon), who sadly, after being struck by cerebral haemorrhage years back, can’t do anything on her own without the help of her caretaker, a Korean Chinese woman who’s an illegal immigrant, named Yu Soo-ok (Ae-sim Kang). As the family is torn apart, the woman does her best to keep it afloat by providing care to supposedly ease the burden of the family. Unfortunately, same as in real life, the events that occur in the film, whether it is in the cinematic universe or outside of it, there is no justice for us to hope for.
When the film opens, we find Yu Soo-ok working hard on ensuring Na Gilsoon gets all the necessary help. But that does not stop Na Gilsoon from getting a bedsore which causes panic in the family. We also learn that the caretaker is an illegal immigrant who, on her day off, goes out to a club, hoping to find a way to stay in the country permanently. Once, she was followed by Gang Chang-sik, as if she was a criminal. What is most interesting though, despite the man appearing soft and gentle, he quickly changes his tune when he finds Yu with another man. We can only assume his real intention towards her but all that becomes not so important when Gang Chang-sik’s daughter is on the brink of an emotional breakdown, due to an act of adultery from her spouse.
There is a lot to process in the South Korean drama, “A Bedsore”. As usual, Korean cinema never disappoints by painting an image of a bleeding family that is ready to blow up in a minute. As we sympathize with Yu and her hard work, we know that, as a viewer, we will be the only ones left caring for her because that’s the nature of her fate – to be exploited and misunderstood by people who want to benefit from her vulnerable situation. And that is what will hurt you the most.