Mother (2009)

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German title Mother
Original title 마더 ( Madeo )
Country of production South Korea
original language Korean
Publishing year 2009
length 128 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Bong Joon-ho
script Bong Joon-ho
Park Eun-kyo
production Seo Woo-sik
Park Tae-joon
music Lee Byung-woo
camera Hong Kyung-pyo
cut Moon Sae-Kyung

Mother is a 2009 South Korean thriller developed by Bong Joon-ho .


The film is about a single mother who lives with her son, sells medicinal herbs and also treats women in their locality with acupuncture without having a license. Her son, Do-jun, is a shy, calm, and retarded young man whom she idolizes, although she often blames him for hanging out with Jin-tae, a city-known idler. Jin-tae is devious and violent and prone to vigilante justice, which gets Do-jun and his mother into trouble.

One night Do-jun meets a schoolgirl, Ah-jeong, and speaks to her, but she hides from him and the audience sees a large stone being thrown at the boy. The next morning the girl is found dead on a roof. The police are only satisfied with the little evidence that Do-jun was seen near the crime scene and left traces and arrests the boy. Investigators are not conducting an actual investigation and instead use questionable methods to press Do-jun into a confession. The boy's lawyer can't make any money out of this case and is content to take him to a mental institution instead of jail. The mother is horrified. She doesn't believe that Do-jun is even capable of murder and begins to uncover the details of the murder and the background of the victim in order to prove her son's innocence. At first she suspects and accuses Jin-tae, but when this turns out to be nonsense, she begins to enlist his help and to conduct her own investigations with increasingly brutal methods.

She searches the city, revealing suggestive details about the girl's life and those around her. Your search actually leads you to a witness in the end. To her shock, however, she learns that Do-jun actually accidentally killed the girl in anger over an insult and left the girl on the roof. In her panic, the mother now kills the witness and burns his house down to cover up the crime. Shortly afterwards, an escaped patient from a nearby psychiatric hospital is caught and presented by the police as the perpetrator instead of Do-jun because he had a relationship with the girl and had direct traces of her. Do-jun is released and returns to his mother. The latter is appalled by herself, but cannot confide in anyone with her guilt and takes refuge in repression.


Mother took the Cannes Film Festival in 2009 in the series Un Certain Regard the competition. The film was South Korea's official nomination for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2010 Academy Awards , but was not accepted for nomination. Mother had its world premiere on May 28, 2009, and it premiered in the USA in February 2010 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival . The film opened in Germany on August 5, 2010.


“What sounds like a classic thriller plot turns out to be a multi-layered character study. […] Director Joon-ho Bong uses a skilfully constructed suspension frame to tell a family drama that underlines the social isolation of its heroes with laconic humor and cleverly composed images. And the main actress Kim, who became a TV star in South Korea with her classic mother roles, shows with her poignant performance how easily a mother's protective instinct can turn into obsessive self-destruction. "

- Alex Attimonelli, Cinema


Kim Hye-ja won the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards for Best Actress . The film also won Best Picture, Best Screenwriter, and Best Actor at the fourth Asian Film Awards . At the Munich Film Festival in 2010 he won the prize for best foreign film ( Arri Zeiss Prize ).

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Certificate of Release for Mother . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , May 2010 (PDF; test number: 122 872 K).
  2. ^ Festival de Cannes: Mother . In: . Retrieved May 17, 2009.
  3. ^ Exam and Mother Take Top Honors at Santa Barbara Film Fest
  4. Mother on
  5. Bong Joon-ho's Mother Named Asian Film Awards' Best Picture
  6. Asian Film Awards: Nominees & Winners ( Memento from July 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive )

Web links