Review: ‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’: Touching scenes from a 75-year Korean marriage
The potent mix of joy and sorrow presented simply in the documentary “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” is enormously affecting, devastating in fact. Mo-young Jin’s film, a smash hit in Korea where it became the country’s biggest independent film ever, follows the 75-year marriage of Byong-man Jo and Gye-yeul Kang, or Hubby and Honey, as they refer to each other.
Jin’s style is observant and unobtrusive, simply following the couple as they go about their daily lives in matching traditional clothing, doing chores and taking care of each other at nearly 90 and 100 years old. They delight in each other’s company, laughing, singing, teasing and playing. It’s not perfect: She nags, he can be quiet, but they’re still having fun and demonstrate enormous love and tenderness to each other.
Honey is talkative and she often natters on, sometimes reflecting honestly on her life — her marriage as a teenager, the children that she lost to sickness and war whom she still mourns. In a touching scene, she shows her husband sets of pajamas that she has bought for her long-gone children, a gift she could not afford during their lives.
“My Love, Don’t Cross That River” is a moving tribute to the beauties and mysteries of life and death, an exploration of how growing old gives the gift of time, but there’s never enough. In following this couple, Jin’s film celebrates the wonder and magic of every single life; finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’
In Korean with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Royal, West L.A.; Laemmle Claremont 5, Claremont
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