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Directed by: Tammy Chu 2009 | 75 min.

Section: Documentary Nominees

Countries: South Korea, United States




Community Co-Presenter:

Association of Korean Adoptees- Southern California

Korean Resource Center

UCLA Center for Korean Studies


Growing up in a small town, Brent Beesley seemed to have had an idyllic childhood not unlike that of fictional television character Kevin Arnold. Oak lined street, everyone knew everyone, loving family, had good but mischievous friends that concocted rumors that he was related to Bruce Lee. Okay, maybe if “The Wonder Years” was about a Korean baby who was adopted by a family in South Dakota. Brent’s birth mother, Myungja, spent those years back in South Korea desperately looking for her son who was put up for adoption without her consent. Brent is now an adult with two daughters of his own. Myungja, herself, also has a young daughter. Brent had only a passing interest in learning more about his biological family until a heart condition of one of his daughters required he investigate his own medical records. His search proved fruitless until a Korean television show assisted him with reuniting with Myungja. After the surreal and dramatic reunion on national television the real challenge began for mother and son. We watch anxiously as they begin the process of getting to know each other. But despite 30 years of no contact, a language and cultural barrier, the bond between mother and son is undeniable. However, there is no Hollywood ending in this story. Only life. Their reunion is halted and interrupted several times and their resilience is constantly put to the test.

Resilience, by definition is the ability to return to original form or to recover from adversity. RESILIENCE, the film by Tammy Chu, an adoptee herself, is a convincing portrait of that very trait. It is seen in the relationship between Myungja and Brent. Their connection is undaunted regardless of the years and hardships. But mostly, we see it in Myungja. Her story arc is moving and inspiring, from teenage mom separated from her son to activist for adoption reform all the while raising a daughter and now re-establishing her relationship with Brent. Her saga is the most touching and her character inspiring and courageous. Chu has made a perceptive and affecting film about oversees adoption in Korea, but even beyond all those points, RESILIENCE stands as an overwhelming testament to the unceasing devotion of mother to child. 

Synopsis written by: Joel Quizon


Wednesday, May 04 7:00 PM CGV Cinemas 1 Date Passed

Cast & Crew

Producer Tammy Chu, Anthony Gilmore, Jessica Windt
Director Tammy Chu
Cinematographer Misun Park
Editor Anthony Gilmore
Cast Brent Beesley, Lexus Beesley, Alyssa Beesley, Myung-ja Noh, Hyo-jung Park