The Directorial Debut for Jeon Go-Woon
Fantasia 2018 is finally here and for me, it’s like Christmas. Microhabitat promised a story about a slacker choosing cigarettes and booze to not having a roof over her head and I couldn’t resist.
The movies this year are awesome and my schedule is full of movie watching goodness. To kick it off, I thought this romantic drama by Jeon Go-Woon was a good way to ease into things. After having written two previous films Familyhood (2016) and The Sunshine Boys (2012) this is her time to drive the directorial bus. How did she do?
Official Synopsis for Microhabitat
When a hike in the price of cigarettes forces her to alter her habits,
Miso embraces homelessness instead and catches up with her college
friends, one MICROHABITAT at a time. The slacker film reinvented by
first-time filmmaker Jeon Go-woon!
How Was It
Words by Vanessa Stewart Gary Gamble owns of Moviehooker. My website vanessasnonspoilers.com
Miso is probably the most fundamental person I have ever seen either in film or in real life. All she wants is her boyfriend, her cigarettes, and her whiskey— Glenfiddich no less. As a former smoker and lover of that particular whiskey, I immediately warmed to her predicament. She also only sees her boyfriend part-time while he studies and lives in dorms. Apart from her having a job as a housekeeper, I appreciated her joy in being able to simply be.
Her predicament arises when the cost of living begins to rise. Her landlord informs her out of shot that rent will increase quite a bit while in the shot, a cockroach runs up the wall of her crumpled tiny apartment. While her life seems to be shockingly infantile, Miso is the very opposite. She is organized, clean, tidy and warm and insanely considerate. The score to these settings plods along as she seemingly does everywhere she goes. The cycle of working to maintain the lifestyle she wants getting increasingly harder every inch of the way. And she doesn’t even want that much.
Microhabitat encompasses the question;
“what would you give up to be free to live the life you desire?”
While Miso decidedly resolves her problem in her own way after couch surfing between friends a sadness envelopes the film. It’s almost as if each of her friends is windows into alternate lifestyle choices she could have made but decided not to.
I adored the final scenes of the film here and the depth and beauty of its meandering way. Hardly anything happens in this film but somehow I connected with its message. And it made me a little sad.
I give Microhabitat 3.5 games of hands slaps is not foreplay out of 5.
Quick Film Information
Written and Directed: Jeon Go-Woon
Literal Meaning of the Korean title (So-Gong-Nyeo)— A Little Princess
Release: October 2017 (BIFF) and 20th July 2018 Fantasia Film Festival. South Korea released in March 2018.