A Normal Family

Italian Premiere | In Competition


Guest star:
HUR Jin-ho, director 
KIM Won-kuk, producer


Jae-wan is a successful lawyer who signs up for any case that brings home the dough, so when a rich conglomerate’s son seeks his help, he accepts. To him, work is work, and he hardly bats an eye while defending a murderer. Meanwhile, the daughter of the said murderer’s victim is coincidentally under the care of Jae-gyu, Jae-wan’s younger brother and a devoted paediatrician who is a man of integrity. Soon, their conflicting views on morals seep out and brew stronger beyond their respective occupations.

To outsiders, the two brothers seem close as they enjoy their luxurious dinners on the regular. But, the truth is distant. One day, an incident triggers their brittle relationship to finally crack. An unexpected situation involving their teenage kids arises to question their consciences and ideas of parenting. Tested and torn, the brothers and their wives must decide whether or not unconditional trust and love are what their family needs.

The height of the drama takes place on yet another dinner table. The conversations between the two couples ironically resembles the foreboding puffer fish they were served at an earlier dinner - a delicacy that must be handled with care or it will be lethal. When push comes to shove, even the most successful resort to their true human nature. Their actions are not justified nor criticised, and it’s up to the spectators to ponder, questioning what constitutes a normal family, what differentiates a victim from an assailant, and more importantly, morality.

Throughout the history of film, the dinner table has been the place for families to come together, or more often, to fall apart. As seen in films like Table for Six (2022) which screened at the festival, or August: Osage County, this correlation is evident in the works of both the East and the West, although the endings might differ. As the Korean adaptation of Herman Koch’s international bestseller The Dinner, A Normal Family poses that this story about a dysfunctional family is universal and that it will never grow old.

Hur Jin-ho’s staple films like his debut feature Christmas in August (1998) and One Fine Spring Day (2001) are known to be the pioneering set of work that initiated the heyday of Korean romance films. He is a renowned filmmaker and the mastermind behind the intricate and delicate emotions expressed and veiled in A Normal Family. By adding his touches to the adaptation, Hur doesn’t forget to include cultural-specific elements to the global story, which makes it all the more relatable for the Korean audience while making it uniquely his own. After exhausting the romance genre from his filmography, Hur makes a turnaround to deromanticize the lives of successful families.

In collaboration with Hur and performing in the key roles is a stellar cast and familiar faces. Sul Kyung-gu’s films Peppermint Candy (1999), Birthday (2019), Kingmaker (2022), and more were screened at FEFF, and he plays the older and rich brother Jaewan.

Jang Dong-gun, of festival Friend (2001) and Tae Guk Gi (2004) fame, plays Jaegyu, the doctor of integrity. As Jae-gyu’s wife is Kim Hee-ae, more recognized for her mega-hit TV series such as The World of the Married (2020), while Claudia Kim of The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) plays the perfect second wife of Jae-wan who is somewhat removed from the incident but is the wisest among them all.

June Kim
Film director: HUR Jin-ho
Year: 2023
Running time: 116'
Country: South Korea
27/04 - 2:30 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
27-04-2024 14:30 27-04-2024 16:26Europe/Rome A Normal Family Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org