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Tribeca 2018 Review: 9 At 38

With the already turbulent tension between the North Korean and South Korean countries, Juilliard-trained violinist Hyungjoon Won sets forth to play in a joint concert on the 70th anniversary or Korea’s independence with Beethoven’s 9th and Arirang (a Korean folk song beloved on both sides of the border). With Landmines and tension building, the concert is set to be performed on their border using a choir from the North and an orchestra from the South.

The story outlines the journey of trying to get this monumental concert and his choice to select continuing the pursuit of this seven year project over his wife and daughter.

“How can a man that can’t unite his family, unite North and South Korea”

Many obstacles later, the orchestra ends up playing in a village two miles from the border. Sad that his plan didn’t work, Hyungjoon, defeated and downplaying what his vision could have meant if it happened the way he envisioned.

This film makes me think of a Tupac quote

“I’m not saying I’m gonna rule the world or I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee you that I will spark the brain that will change the world. And that’s our job, It’s to spark somebody else watching us.” – Tupac Shakur



Cast & Credits

Director: Catherine K. Lee
Producer: T.R. Boyce Jr., Ciara Lacy, Sarah Kim, Catherine K. Lee
Cinematographer: Chapin Hall
Composer: Jose Gonzalez Palma
Editor: Eugene Yi, Sarah Kim
Executive Producer: Jeff Hoffman, Y. Michele Kang
Co-Producer: Eugene Yi
Cast: Hyungjoon Won
Music Supervisor: Jonathan Zalben
Music Composer: Jose Gonzalez Palma


About the Director

Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee is an award-winning filmmaker and a humanitarian worker with experience in 18 countries. Born in South Korea, Lee dedicated her studies at Yale and Harvard, as well as her professional work, to global injustices. She concluded hearts must be moved for change and decided to embrace storytelling via film. 9 at 38 is her directorial debut.