In 2014, a resident representative of an apartment complex in Incheon died during a protest. The incident was triggered by the construction company selling apartments that had been unsold for more than two years for less than the selling price. The existing residents protested the move, saying, “I can’t watch my apartment that I paid 400 million won for move in next door for 300 million won,” and the protest became so intense that it resulted in the death of the representative.
Similar conflicts, though not fatal, have occurred in Paju, Bucheon, and Goyang, Gyeonggi-do. The government, which failed to predict demand and favored supply policies, and construction companies, which set unreasonably high prices, were largely to blame, but it was a tragedy that turned residents against each other.
The movie “Dream Palace,” which opens on the 31st, is a social realism film that focuses on the “unsold apartment discount crisis” as its main theme. Director Ga Seong-moon (35), who is making her feature film debut with this movie, wrote the screenplay based on the news reports of these cases. “Conflicts in which those responsible escape and victims hate and resent each other continue to exist in Korean society in various forms with different names,” he said. “If a movie that shows a fantasy of fighting lice is like an anesthetic that makes you forget reality for a while, this movie is like a stimulant that looks at the causes of suffering.”
A delicate look at ‘The War of the Worlds’
In Dream Palace, Hye-jeong (Kim Sun-young) is a widowed industrial accident victim who buys a new apartment with the settlement money she received in exchange for stopping her protests. She moves in with high hopes, but when she discovers a defect in the greenery, she is plunged into another struggle. Photo IndieStory
A still from the movie ‘Dream Palace’. Photo IndieStory
The movie centers on Hye-jung (Kim Sun-young) and Su-in (Lee Yoon-ji), who lost their husbands in an industrial accident and have been protesting for the truth. After compromising with reality and stopping the protests, Hye-jung receives a settlement from the company and uses the money to buy a new apartment. However, when she discovers that green water is pouring out of the faucet, she is told by the sales counselor that she can only receive compensation for defects after the apartment is 100% sold.
Hye-jung takes it upon herself to promote the apartment, and manages to get Su-in, who is still protesting, to sign a contract at a discounted price. The two women look forward to being neighbors, but they are met with a barricade of existing residents who prevent the “discounted” unit from moving in. This solid fence separates them once again, with unforeseen consequences.
Dream Palace is a realistic and suspenseful look at how the small selfishness of the protagonists, who just want to live in a decent place, is suppressed and thwarted by structural problems. Ga explains how he was inspired to make a movie about the unsold apartment crisis.
“I grew up in a neighborhood that was very sensitive to the real estate market, and my friends would label each other, ‘Someone lives in an expensive complex,’ ‘Someone lives in a rental complex,’ etc. Naturally, there was a lot of accumulated emotion around real estate issues, and when I saw an incident where residents were fighting with each other, I thought, ‘Why do they have to do that?
Along with the unsold apartment crisis, the film “Dream Palace” also delicately portrays the complex conflicts at the sit-in of the bereaved families of workers’ compensation victims. Photo IndieStory
A still from the movie Dream Palace. Photo IndieStory
Are bereaved families who give up protesting bad…”I want to illuminate imperfect humanity”
The fact that the main characters are the bereaved families of industrial accident victims is also quite important. The story of people who bought an apartment with the settlement money they received for their husbands’ lives, while being criticized by their fellow bereaved families, getting involved in another “war of attrition” with the existing residents of the apartment, amplifies the absurdity and irony that the film aims to show. “When I saw reports that there were conflicts even among the bereaved families who were demanding the truth about the tragedy, I realized that the hatred and resentment between the victims instead of the people who were really at스포츠토토 fault was repeated,” says Ga. “I wanted to look at the structure of how people who have been through such conflicts once get caught up in something similar again.”
As the story is based on real-life events, the director was careful to capture details through observation and reporting when writing the screenplay. He was particularly inspired by attending a resident meeting in his own apartment building. “What I realized when I met the residents was that there were no real bad people, no real good people, just different positions, and each person was genuine,” he says. “Based on this realization, I tried to avoid objectifying the lives of all the characters.”
As he says, “Dream Palace” deals with a lot of conflicts and conflicts, but it maintains a careful and thoughtful gaze that doesn’t cut and paste good and evil. In the case of the main character, Hye-jeong, the viewer can either see her as selfish or infinitely pitiful. There is no clear “villain” in the movie. “If similarly themed films follow a narrative where the innocent victim fights against the perpetrator, I wanted to shed light on imperfect humanity rather than fantasy,” says the director. “I thought that we can only truly understand social conflicts by examining the true nature of human beings who are selfish and guilty, good and not evil.”
Actress Kim Sun-young won Best Actress at the 20th Asian Film Festival for Dream Palace. Photo Indie Story
Su-in, played by actress Lee Yoon-ji, is an upright person who refuses to compromise with reality, even in the worst of times. “Lee Yoon-ji was an actress who could understand Soo-in’s mindset,” said director KA Sung-moon. Photo Indie Story
Kim Sun-young and Lee Yoon-ji, two seasoned actresses, delicately create two opposing characters, with Kim winning the Best Actress award at the 20th Asian Film Festival last month for her “explosive performance under the weight of absurdity”. After watching the movie, one is left with the impression that Hye-jung and Su-in are living in their own “dream palace” somewhere.
“I tried to deal with things that are so realistic that we tend to turn a blind eye to them,” says director Gah.