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Ode to My Father

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Hilda Dixon
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Ode to My Father

The Film that I reviewed is called, “Ode to my Father.” I totally recommend this movie because it embraces Korean historic momentous antecedents, Confucianism ideology, friendship, and happiness as an end goal among other themes.  This movie for sure makes one teary and laugh at the same time. I believe this movie should make the entrance to the Korean National Registry because the historic events such as the Korean war are unbiased and carefully detailed and presented. This movie reflects the story of Deok-soo (Main protagonist) who worked endlessly to produce acceptable living conditions for his family. However, in reality millions of stories like Deok-soo were necessary to get Korea out of poverty and to become of one of the four economic tiger societies.  

Due to the fact that I am currently a special education teacher for young students with intelligence disabilities, I would only be able to show excerpts of family scenes such as when the grandparents take  care of the kids, or when all the family are at the grand parents home. I would ask my students what do your grandparents do with you when they babysit you? Do you go to the park, movies, mall or play board games? What does your whole family do when all your relatives get together? Do you dance, sing, eat good food, or play games? Do you enjoy being with your family or grandparents? Do your grandparents share stories with you about what they did when they were your age? Students can draw pictures or they can bring pictures from home to help them tell their classmates about their families so that students can learn that there are some activities that all families share and there are some unique traditions in each family.

If I were a general education teacher who teaches upper elementary students or up, I would show 30 minutes of the movie at one time. Then after the students had watched a section of the movie, I would ask my students to write down questions or answer some questions from previous sections shown.  I would ask students if Deok-soo, the main protagonist, Young-ja, the wife of Deok-soo, lived a happy life in spite of the numerous challenges?

I would explain that in traditional Korean society, people might persevere and endure discomfort at times such as  physical pain and even would  sacrifice one's personal dreams or personal goals in order to stay committed to higher arching goals such as keeping one’s parents alive and siblings thriving. What did Deok-soo have to sacrifice? What were some of Deok-soo’s discomforts?

I would also say that at times, our life seems very challenging and might seem hard to go on. However, there are some blessings that help us to get through our hard times. What were some of the blessings of Deok-soo? Some examples could be his long-lasting friendship with Dal-goo, his loving wife, warm mother, respectful siblings, and Deok-soo’s strong perseverance and hardworking skills.

I would also say that if we could understand the idea of happiness as something that must be pursued through our daily choices in order to follow a long-lasting goal that produces joy in our lives, then we could say that  Deok-soo and Young-ja experienced a happy life. Why or why not? I will write down on the board some of the statements that Deok-soo said almost at the last of the movie, “I Keep my promise and found Maksoon (younger sister). In that sense, I’ve lived well enough. But you know it was so hard …” I would also write down some of Young-ja’s last statements regarding her dream such as, “To meet a handsome man and have a happy life.”

Lastly, another concept that is worth talking about is the concept of true friendship. What is true friendship is that when two or more friends experience challenging odds, and in spite of them, they are still together.  Most of the time true friendships are not instantaneous. True friendships are nurtured through dialogue and shared experiences in which some of the moments are pleasurable, convenient, useful, too.  True friendship is a constant habit where we are there for the sake of others when they need us and we see them as the way they see themselves, too. In this regard, in the movie Ode to my Father,  we can witness how the friendship between Yoon Deok-soo and Dal-goo evolved beautifully and solidly. True friendship is something as a teacher we should make notice of, and cultivate between our students.