Update : 2018.10.02  Tue  No : 497
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Review
Microhabitat - the Story of Homes, Life,and Happiness

Human beings live their lives without knowing why they were born. Through living a life, some people set goals, and others may live naturally just like time flows. We all look at the world with our own values and standards. Therefore, the way people want to live is different from person to person. What shape and color does your wannabe life have? Are you living the life you wanted or want to live? The movie “Microhabitat (2017)” talks about people’s various lifestyles conveying a calm melody and the main character’s sullen facial expressions, which leads us to think about what values we will place importance on in our lives.

Little Princess and Microhabitat
This movie’s Korean title is “A Little Princess” and its English title is “Microhabitat.” Microhabitat signifies an appropriate place for microorganisms and insects to live. The main character’s name is “Mi-so” which is a Korean version of the word “Micro.” At first glance, there seems to be a gap between the word little princess and microhabitat. I thought that these two titles could include the meaning of equality among all beings, and that even small and uninteresting creatures are all precious sons and daughters of the family. 


 

“I do not have a house, but I have thoughts and preferences.”
The movie begins in earnest with a housemaid of three years, Mi-so, giving up her house and visiting her college band members. Mi-so had to abandon her home because the rent had risen as the new year comes while her daily wage remained the same. The only thing that she cannot miss is a glass of whisky a day, a puff of cigarette, and her beloved boyfriend. She has her own ideas and tastes even if she seems immature to others. The only driving force to Mi-so is what makes herself Mi-so and love.
 
“What is it like to live like a human being?”
“What is it like to live as a human being?” This is a line Mi-so says toward her boyfriend Han-sol when he declared his resolution to get a job abroad, saying he wants to live like a human being. Han-sol replies to her like this. “You know. That sort of thing. Something that everybody else does. I want to do that kind of thing, too.” In his criterion, the minimum requirement for being a human may be having a house. In other words, it will be visible and material things such as a job, a marriage, and money, all of which can be represented by a house. However, in the process of looking for a place to stay, what Mi-so encountered was not people living like human beings but the lives of people only with a house pretending they are living like human beings.

# Would you be happy with a home or a job?
A company girl  Where Mi-so visits first is the workplace of Choi Moon-young who was a bassist of the band. Moon-young works in a big-sized, prosperous firm but Mi-so felt pity seeing her get an IV injection and take medicine. She rejected Mi-so’s request, saying that it is too pressured to accommodate her although she lives alone.
 
A housewife with her parents-in-law  Mi-so then visited Jung Hyun-jeong’s home. Hyun-jeong played keyboard in the college band. She lives with her husband’s parents who always complain about her food. She and her husband had a quarrel about her bringing her friend without mentioning it beforehand. After knowing that, Mi-so quietly left the home, having made some side dishes for her friend.
 
# Can marriage make you happy?
A divorced man living in an apartment  The third place she visited was the house of Han Dae-yong who played the drums in the band. He was in a state of sorrow and his house was in disarray. He confessed he divorced with his wife after eight months of marriage. The apartment where Dae-yong lives was arranged by a loan, which his wife wanted him to pay off. His wife went away.
 
An old bachelor who lives with his parents  Next, Mi-so went to visit band vocalist Kim Rok-ee. Unlike the previous places she visited, Rok-ee’s parents gladly welcomed her. However, Rok-ee said strange things to her when they used the same room for sleeping, like that he wants to marry her, noticing his parents will be happy because there was no girl visiting his house. The next day, Mi-so found it strange to see dried peppers lying on the floor and all the doors and windows locked. She desperately escaped through the only open door which was rather small.
 
# Will you be happy when you become wealthy?
A woman who married a rich husband  Where she finally headed for was Choi Jung-mi’s house. She was a guitarist in the band. She married a rich man and is living with her baby in a large mansion. She welcomed Mi-so into her spacious house. Thanks to her, it seemed that her life had become stable with her money saved. However, she one day told Mi-so that Mi-so’s love toward cigarettes and alcohol without having a home is such a shameless thing. Being shocked by that, she left the house.


 
“I am not the homeless. I am traveling now.”
Normally a house is recognized as a place of stability, shelter, and rest. Furthermore, it is regarded as an essential element while people are living their lives. It is natural that there is a home to go back after the work and even people have gratitude for that.
Mi-so also first thought like that, but she started to think about it differently. Although she was almost forced to give up her home at first, the fact that she does not have a house also meant the start of a journey to her. She learns many things and grows up by observing various lives and the real truth of her band members after going out of her comfort zone. It could be possible as Mi-so revealed herself, undecorated, even though she faced many painful and insulting moments. That is the charming point of a journey which includes both the bitter and the sweet.

 

A real happiness
Mi-so seemed much happier maybe than the people who have their own house. At the end of the movie, it was snowing outside the window while Mi-so drank a glass of whisky. The daily life of each band member after the visit of Mi-so appears alternately. The scenes of a busy road are shown continuously on the screen and the voices of the members who missed Mi-so are overlapped with a gentle melody. After a lapse of time, white-haired Mi-so, because of a rare disease, leaving 4000 won (US$3.58) under the glass of whisky is described. The movie makes us think about what a real happiness is. We are in a society which takes invisible things on the basis of material things. However, there is a need to think about its priority once again, as you and I live a life for ourselves.
 

There is no answer in life. There is no model example of it. There are many different forms of life and everyone walks their own road of life. We may make our own road to some extent. We live a life overcoming many obstacles which will appear suddenly or exist from the outset on the road, beyond out the present vision we see. However, the most important thing walking down the road is ourselves. I doubt that it is time to check yourself if you have some value which is regarded as more important than yourself. I would like to quote these lyrics: “Don’t put anything on your existence. No tomorrow can replace today. On your more precious existence.”


By Seo Eun-sol
Associate Editor of Campus Section

2018.10.02  No : 497 By Seo Eun-sol sespag@hufs.ac.kr
 
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Review
Microhabitat - the Story of Homes, Life,and Happiness