This was an Asian film where the main character is returning to the village he is from to visit his dying mother. The movie takes place either during World War 2, or the Korean War. While he's there, he starts learning about his father, who was a teacher and was forced to go to the mainland and teach, so he and the mother had a long-distance relationship.
The difficulty in getting this question answered, is that that's how a friend of mine described the movie to me. She rented it from Blockbuster Videos in the early 2000's. Maybe a touch earlier. No later than 1998, where they had it in some kind of "Great Foreign Films" section. If I can figure out what the movie is, I was hoping to surprise her with it for Christmas.