[고추] - 단편영화

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SYNOPSIS

The Korean goddess of birth visits a maternity ward, hanging a red pepper on the doors of patients she deems worthy of bearing a son. When a boy among a group of souls refuses to bite into a spicy pepper for his reincarnation, the ghost of a little girl inhabiting the hospital offers to go in his stead.


DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

“One Well-Raised Daughter is Worth Ten Sons.”

Thus was the motto promulgated by the South Korean government as part of a nationwide campaign to increase the female birth rate in the 1980s. Sex-selective abortions were at an all-time high even up until the 1988 Seoul Olympics despite abortions being illegal nationally.

Confucianism has brought great prosperity to South Korea in terms of education and economic growth, but within it exists an androcentric value system that favors sons over daughters. From the perspective of traditionalists, bearing a son is necessary to continue the family name and bloodline. But would a male baby still retain his value as a son if he were born without the desire or capability to procreate? What do we do as a society when a woman’s right to choose clashes with a woman’s right to live?

Sponsored by Yeosung Jeonhwa, a South Korean women's rights organization, Pepper (2018) tackles the familial and societal problems that women and gay men face in South Korea as a result of a preference for male offspring that still persists even today.