A Korean mother is lecturing—no, she’s confessing—on-screen during a pivotal scene in the film Happy Cleaners. The backdrop is ordinary: a dim bedroom and a parent facing the back of a child who flaunts indifference. Both anticipate an argument from the other but the elder speaks softly. She runs down her list of worries as if to herself—from bothersome husbands to untamed sons. It doesn’t, and will never, include the young daughter standing before her. They’re tearful. It’s intense. It’s love.
“We’re telling people to look at our experiences and view our lives for what they’re truly like,” says Korean American indie-filmmaker Julian Kim. “The hope is that it opens up a different perspective for people to view the Asian American and Korean community in a more positive light and see them as human.”