Enter the world of director Ari Kim, the creative force behind the compelling narrative of “The Eyes of the Ocean Are Always Swollen.” A fine arts graduate from New York University, Ari currently immerses herself in the vibrant realm of film direction and art direction within the bustling city of New York. Holding dual roles as both director and art director for this film, she effortlessly oversees every facet, from set design to props, costumes, makeup, and typography, ensuring a cohesive and immersive visual experience.
Ari’s academic foundation in fine arts sparked a contemplation of the inherent power residing within artworks. This introspective journey seamlessly paved the way for her transition into the intricate world of filmmaking. In her role as an art director, Ari orchestrates the intricate dance of visual elements, from the subtleties of set design to the nuanced world of subtitles.
What is The Eyes of the Ocean Are Always Swollen (2022) about?
The film, “The Eyes of the Ocean Are Always Swollen” (2022), navigates the complex life of a woman adorned with numerous scars, maneuvering through the dual roles of daughter and mother. Amidst repeated choices and challenges, the film delicately unfolds her transformative journey. It beautifully captures her process of overcoming personal scars and evolving through recurring decisions. Rich emotions and graceful movements intertwine to leave the audience moved, reflective, and infused with hope.
This experimental masterpiece draws inspiration from various art forms, including dance, editing, costumes, and music. The protagonist, someone close to the filmmaker, carries emotional wounds, and the film seeks to express resilience amid tears. Love, depicted as a moth fluttering towards a flame, or an unbreakable thread binding individuals for a lifetime, resonates throughout.
From the moment of birth, the physical swelling caused by amniotic fluid is a shared experience, yet mothers and children continue to shed tears long after. The film delves into the paradox of love—why it is not always beautiful, why individuals knowingly inflict and endure wounds, creating a perpetual cycle of pain and empathy.
“The Eyes of the Ocean Are Always Swollen” reflects life’s myriad choices, resulting in an ongoing narrative of transformation. Inspired by works like “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022) and Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” the film raises questions about naming conventions in Korea and the sacrifices parents make for their children. Notably, in Korea, parents might be addressed as “Soomin’s Dad” or “Minsoo’s Mother.”
This award-winning film, recognized at Cannes World Film Festival, Independent Shorts Award for Best Screendance, and Berlin Short Film Festival, concludes with a sense of a new beginning. Emphasizing that the end of a film marks the commencement of a fresh chapter, Ari Kim, with her overflowing artistic vision, continues to shape narratives and visual experiences in the world of cinema. Her commitment to exploring the profound impact of every artistic decision sets her apart on this cinematic journey in the heart of New York City.