Set Me Free

Kim Tae-Yong

Autobiographically inspired feature debut by one of South Korea’s greatest talents is an unusual coming-of-age film. A schoolboy who fled his irresponsible father as a child and grew up in a very Catholic foster family can no longer stay there because of his age. He pretends he wants to become a priest.

Yeong-Jae is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On the one hand there is his useless father, on the other his forced departure from his Catholic foster parents. He is getting too old to stay with them anymore. 'A home is not just a physical space, but also an emotional place of safety', director Kim Tae-Yong says. Set Me Free is based on his own experiences.
Yeong-Jae’s frustrating dilemma is filmed from his own point of view, and tempts us to make harsh judgements on his dubious actions. Yeong-Jae deliberately feigns a desire to train for the priesthood in the hope this will allow him to stay longer with his foster parents, as a model son. Meanwhile, he starts providing for his impending independent life by stealing and betrays his best friend to save his own skin. Nevertheless, the observant camera also shows that a loud cry of desperation resounds in the frail balance of his lies. Finally, we are left with a courageous impression of a teenager who is simply looking for security.

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