On the Way (2000)

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On the Way (Sur la route) is an experimental film by Korean director Choi Jae Eun, who is better known in her native land as an architect and plastic artist. More of a statement than a story, it opens with the declaration: "In the 20th century, humans laid down borders. These borders, rooted in the earth and in the mind, have stolen countless lives." The camera then follows an old man as he sets out on a journey to the most important sites of world history. Among these are Auschwitz, Berlin, and Korea. At each stopping point, historical footage is woven into contemporary footage to create a sense of history unfolding or about to unfold. For the director, the goal here is to show how humans make rifts between one another, and how these rifts eventually heal as new ones are created. This cerebral concept, not surprisingly, was developed in part by Eun's collaborator, Keiko Nakamura, a leading researcher of molecular biology and evolution. And while the film strives for a harmonious form of visual poetry, it more likely achieves art house pretension.