The ‘developed world’ is in the middle of a housing crisis. With populations on the rise, increasing migration and jobs becoming increasingly centralised in large cities, the pressure on available housing stocks continues to push up house prices at an alarming rate. Whilst wages largely stagnate. Real estate has become an investment opportunity for the rich. East Asia is no exception and has produced two of the best dramas which tackle the subject in Shoplifters and Parasite. Homeless is another fine example of social filmmaking.
Han-gyeol (Bong-Seok Jeon) and Go-woon (Jeong-Yeon Park) are homeless after being scammed out of their deposit by a crooked real estate agent. Whilst the police try and hunt him down, they have no option but to live, with their young baby, in saunas. Whilst he tries to earn money as a takeaway driver, she becomes increasingly desperate to find a home. When an elderly customer goes on holiday, he snaps and decides the family are going to ‘housesit’.
Homeless is a powerful and moving drama about the strain placed on families who struggle to find affordable housing. Whilst construction companies fall over themselves to build expensive apartments, there’s very little provision for those who simply want to get on the housing ladder. Based on his experiences growing up, Seung-Hyeun Lim’s film highlights this abhorrent situation. Driven by two brilliantly understated and level-headed lead performances, Homeless is a timely and emotive film about a family just desperate for a home.
Homeless screens at IFFR.