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Old Partner (Not Rated)

Korean with English subtitles

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened— Anatole France. In a remote, verdant valley in South Korea, old Mr. and Mrs. Lee live on a farm with their rickety ox. For forty years, the animal has served them faithfully—hauling untold firewood loads and dragging the plow through fertile fields. A gently unfolding meditation on the cycle of life, Old Partner playfully and poetically tells the story of the ineffable bond between Mr. Lee and his ox as their lives wind down in tandem. Rain or shine, hunched and gnarled, Mr. Lee tills, weeds, and harvests, often crouching on all fours like the ox that never leaves his side. A charming, heartbreaking, existential buddy tale, Old Partner conveys the almost mystical inextricability of humans and nature. As laconic Mr. Lee intones, “The ox is my karma.”