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Saturday, August 27, 2016

'My Love, Don't Cross That River' DVD: Greatest Love Story Ever Told


The only fault regarding the Film Movement theatrical and DVD releases of the uber-awesome 2014 South Korean documentary "My Love, Don't Cross That River" lies with your not-so-humble reviewer. A series of circumstances (mostly under the control of said dope) is behind not timely posting this review closer to the early August 2016 theatrical release of "Love."

This high regard for "Love" reflects the same universal themes in that film that exist regarding virtually every (mostly foreign) movie in the Movement catalog. The Korean subjects of the film easily could be the nice retired couple next door to you.

Fans of good documentaries, romances, comedies, drama, etc should scour their local movie listings to see if this once-in-a-lifetime film is still playing in your area. If that ship has sailed, members of the uber-fantabulous (mostly foreign) Movement Film of the Month Club will enjoy a September 1, 2016 DVD release of "Love." Everyone else must wait for the general DVD release on October 4, 2016.

Folks who do not have the option of seeing "Love" on the big screen and are facing a roughly six-week wait for the DVD can get their fix for quality Korean cinema by watching the (Unreal TV reveiwed) "Sea Fog." This drama from the producer of the spectacular drama "Snowpiercer" tells the compelling tale of a fishing boat captain driven to transporting illegal aliens with catastrophic results.

The following YouTube clip of the "Love" trailer showcases the heart and humor that warrant the raves for the film.

The publicity material from Movement shares that this labor of love is the result of documentarian Moyoung Jin devoting 15 months to capturing the lives of happily married senior-senior citizens Byong-man Jo and his wife of 76 years Gye-Yeul Kang. These materials also share that "Love" has the distinction of being the most successful independent film in South Korea. International acclaim includes winning the Documentary Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.

Virtually all of "Love" consists of capturing the daily activities that in turn capture the clear deep love of our subjects. An early scene has Gye-Yeul good-naturedly complaining about the difficulty of sweeping up leaves to have her husband tell her that he will do it. This soon leads to this 90-something man playfully initiating a leaf fight.

Other adventures for this couple that delights in dressing alike include a seniors' picnic, a romp in the snow, and an amusingly bizarre serenade.

We soon hear the story that Gye-Yeul is 14 when she learns that 19 year-old Byong-man is selected to be her husband; the extent to which this is an arranged marriage, rather than the result of a conclusion that Byong-man merely is a suitable husband, is unclear. The audience also is told that Byong-man is an exceptional gentleman both during his courtship and after getting married.

Other notable aspects of the lives of this couple is that they have had 12 children and love those who die young as much as the living ones with whom they have enviable relationships. One of the most charming scenes has the "kids" come for a holiday visit; the award for most relatable scene involves an entertaining argument during a birthday party for Gye-Yeul.

The other stars of "Love" are two cute little dogs named Freebie and Kiddo; each of the these individuals have stories with strong emotional content.

The larger story is the realizations of our couple that the end is near for both of them and that Byong-man is likely going to be the first to go. Gye-Yeul seemingly being more concerned about how her husband will cope with the afterlife until she gets there than about how she will cope in this existence during that interim is very moving. This topic also provides Westerners fascinating insight into the religious beliefs of these old folks.

Everything the above paragraphs discuss and the tons o' delights to discover on watching "Love" make it truly "must-see" if only because you will see yourself and/or others in your life in the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Love" is implored to email or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy if doing so will help push you to see this film.