The film chronicles Liem's efforts to uncover the secret and find out what happened to the little girl whose name -- and shoes -- she was given.
Who Is The Girl in the Picture?
Cha Jung Hee aka Deann quickly became assimilated, and loved her adoptive parents dearly. But questions about her origins and adoption were heightened by the two photos of Cha Jung Hee -- herself -- that were with her adoption papers. The problem was that the photos were of two different, albeit somewhat similar, little girls.
Eventually, Deann was able to find out that her birth name was really Ok Chin, and that she had been sent off to join the the Borshays in America in lieu of -- and wearing the shoes of -- Cha Jung Hee, who had been reclaimed by her natural father just before the adoption was to be finalized. Deann was able to find and meet her birth mother and felt that she'd reconnected to her Korean roots, but she felt strongly that she needed to find the real Cha Jung Hee, to see what her life had become and whether she'd been sadly deprived because she hadn't been sent to America for 'a better life.' Deann was curious, too, to find out exactly why she had been sent to America in Cha Jung Hee's stead. Was her life the product of a corrupt adoption system? What would have happened to her had she been kept at the orphanage in South Korea? And. well, she had lots of questions that needed answering.
Filmmaker as Detective
Deann is the film's central character -- she, and the two photos of the little girl called Cha Jung Hee. The faces depicted in the photographs are cut in horizontal strips showing forehead, eyes, nose, mouth and chin, and the strips are intermingled time and again during the film. It's a good visual effect to illustrate Deann's concerns about identity confusion.
In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee gives you a lot to think about, and Deann's story certainly elicits strong sympathies about what she and other children who are adopted from other countries, other cultures go through. And it raises many questions about what 'a better life' actually means.
If You Like This Film, You May Also Like:
- Unmistaken Child
- Traces of the Trade
- Order of Myths
- Moving Midway
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- Title: In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee
- Director: Deann Borshay Liem
- Release Date: US Television Premiere: September 14, 2010
- Running Time: 64 mins.
- Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
- Location: USA South Korea
- Language: English, Korean with translation and/or subtitles
- Production Company: Mu Films