Poverty and homelessness in South Korea imagined via a tender, funny and nuanced portrait of a young woman who refuses to wallow in misery
S IS FOR SOUTH KOREA
You know how that fat cat advised millennials to eat less avocado toasts and put the money thus saved towards housing deposits? The release of Microhabitat coincided with this idiotic remark. This film is a nuanced, tender and breathtakingly beautiful study of what is so wrong in understanding poverty as something to be escaped through joylessness.
The protagonist, Miso, is an orphan and a university drop-out who labors as a domestic cleaner. She rents a small room without heating, and finds solace in three things that keep her going: cigarettes, a Glenfiddich at a bar, and her boyfriend. However, once the price for cigarettes is raised by the government, Miso realizes that something in her budget has to go. She decides to give up on the room, and couch-surf through a list of five people she was best friends with in university. What follows is a gripping study of privilege and class, in which Miso, while homeless and seemingly hopeless, might be the only one who has cracked the code to living a good life.
Microhabitat (소공녀, So-gong-nyeo), 2017
Director: Jeon Go-Woon