S Diary

This is quite possibly my favorite movie.  Definitely my favorite Korean movie:

S Diary or 에스 다이어리

Kim Seon Ah is the star, my favorite Korean actress.  She re-examines her former lovers, seeing if they only wanted sex, or if there was love between them.  Then she charges all the men invoices for sex and hatches a hilarious plan to make them pay up.

It’s like a romantic comedy, but there is no “couple” in the end.  Just Seon Ah, playing piano, her mother crying and smiling after watching, and then Seon Ah, writing a note of thanks in her first published book.

S Diary

Oh my gosh, why do I love this movie so much?

I sighed and cried while watching it with my boyfriend.  I ended up confessing to him, I watched this movie before coming to Korea, and after coming back stateside, I told him during the beginning of the movie, that it made me feel nostalgia for South Korea.  I then confessed, “Korea is my first love.”

Yeah, the first time I think I have said it out loud in a while.

The movie came out in 2004, by the way.

 The girl grows up, becomes a woman, makes memories, remembers memories, cries, gets revenge, mourns, and then sets out to find herself.

Finding herself.

That’s why I love this movie.

It was the lesson before I went to Korea.

It is the same lesson I am trying to master now.

Who am I?

Knowing myself.

Loving myself.

Love and Sex

My life now–

Just like Lola Versus.

29, not getting married, needing to find myself, instead of blaming others.

And she had 29 years until the next upheaval and she hoped at the end of it that she felt the way she did at the end of movie.  The way she felt as she put her cut flowers on the table and sat down in her apartment.

Will I find my calm and myself too?

The Names of Love

I was thinking of the difficulty of racism but wanted to watch a movie instead of think so I used my roommate’s Netflix subscription.  And there were movies about immigrants in America, multiracial couples, and such, but I didn’t want to think was the whole point so I picked a French movie named Le nom des gens or in English, “The Names of Love”.

The blurb about the movie didn’t reveal the rather complicated racial and cultural dynamics it contained, but perhaps I should have guessed a movie about a woman who sleeps with men to change their politics would address immigration, race, and the modern Western world’s diversity.

The movie ends with a very deep line: “Who will see our child as a foreigner?”  A French couple named their son Chang.

Memento and Inception

I love Inception.

I just watched my roommate’s copy and she sat with me on the couch during part of it.

I really love this movie.  I keep getting drawn into the story every time I watch.  It is beautiful, well-written, casted perfectly with amazing actors, and well-edited.  It is just an experience to watch.  It tells a story that gives me an emotional journey to experience.  Over and over (probably because it made a huge analogy for my life when I first saw it)!

So, yes, it was the creative baby of Christopher Nolan.  And yes, I like the new Batman Trilogy: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight (Heath Ledger as JOKER! -OMgosh!), and The Dark Knight Rises (I haven’t seen it yet!!!).  I really enjoyed The Prestige (thank you, Disney Cruise).

But I didn’t like Memento.  Why?  I don’t remember … I mean, I saw it a decade ago … It was edgy visually, instead of dark like Gotham or opulent and historical like The Prestige or surreal and diverse like Inception.  But I don’t think it was just the black-and-white color of Memento.

All of Nolan’s films have surprises and twists.  They are all complicated stories with intense characters.  But I think why I didn’t like Memento wasn’t any of the techniques or cinematography tricks it employed.  Rather, Memento’s story revolted me.

The Prestige shows vindictive, ruthless competition creating loss.  Batman Begins defines criminality and juxtapositions it with vigilante justice.  The Dark Knight was amazing, but the ending left me slightly cold because I don’t know if I believe that real hope could be created through deception.  And while Memento was an interesting puzzle, it wasn’t an inspiring story for me.  I felt dirty and brutalized after watching Memento.

So, yeah, Inception was great.  I want to see The Dark Knight Rises.  What was that other movie …. M-something?  I am just going to forget all about that.

Brave Promo

I kind of love this.  I want to “witch” my problems away.  Although I assume that using magic to solve your problems makes a demand for more effort later to resolve your problems.  But the Little Mermaid (and Brother Bear, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella) needed magic for its storyline, so I am going to give Brave the benefit of the doubt.

Eek!  Brave looks really good.  Brave comes out June 22nd, 2012.

Grieving 4

Grief is loss.

Sometimes the sense of loss steals more than just joy and wholeness.

Sometimes it steals identity.

Grief over losing who you defined yourself as.  Grief over losing who you defined yourself with.

My friend R sent me this link.  R likes strange music, bicycles, and strong convictions.

The Division Of Gravity

The woman talks about strength.  Strength to value herself.

But there is still grief.

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a movie about a governor running for the democratic nomination.  And the sordid world of politics that help propel him forward into the public’s good opinion.  And about the idealistic youth of politics being eaten up by a corrupt, older generation.

The official synopsis is “An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.”  –IMDB

It is even set in Ohio.  You can see locations in Cincinnati.

But the interesting point of this story for me is the women.  There aren’t many women in American politics.

This movie has a flirting, sarcastic, ruthless journalist named Ida.  She plays friend or extortionist depending on the mood to try to get a quote to put in the next day’s paper.  She isn’t glamorous.  Ida is smart.  She is not young.  Rather, Ida is a journalism professional and a jaded American woman.

And then you have the wife of the governor.  She is supportive.  She has a vested interest in her husband’s success.  She is not young but a partner in her husband’s ambitions.  She lays her head on his shoulder.  She makes social arrangements.  She listens and questions the next political move.  She is almost like a necessary piece of jewelry, although to see her role as limited to merely as ornamentation would be naive.

Then there is Molly, an intern.  Molly was twenty years old.  Her father is in charge of the DNC.  The senior manager of the governor’s campaign got her the internship and he has known her since she was small.  Molly sleeps with the idealistic junior campaign manager.  But Molly is already pregnant and she can’t afford an abortion.  The father is the governor seeking the presidential nomination.

So the idealistic junior campaign manager makes it possible for her to have an abortion quickly, without a word to anyone else.  But  in between dropping her off at the Oakley women’s clinic and his promise to pick her up, the idealist staffer is fired.  As he scrambles around, trying to salvage his career, Molly waits at a coffee shop, eventually takes a taxi to her room, and listens to another staff member tell her about the day’s dramatic upheaval.  Now she knows her “protector” intends to turn her into the next day’s headlines in his quest to squash the governor who betrayed him.

Molly dies from an overdose of alcohol and pills.

After her funeral, idealistic staffer uses this to secure his career, becoming the senior campaign manager.  Molly is replaced by a new, young female intern bringing in coffee.  She is named Jill Morris.

And these are the women of the movie.

I thought it was interesting that Molly was very unprotected, although she had connections to so many powerful men in politics.  Her choices in many ways were taken away from her.  She was used and thrown away.  Her last words in the film are “I’m not going away!”  But these are heard by the idealist staffer on his cell phone, after she has already passed on.  It is almost ironic, and seems slightly sinister in light of how her body was found collapsed on her room’s floor, which a suited man exited just before the idealist staffer enters and hears from a hotel employee that she is already gone.

Molly dislikes her father (for unknown reasons), is used sexually by the governor, is bedded and then handled by the idealist staffer (what was attraction quickly becomes dehumanizing insensitivity and aloofness), and is never even shown to talk to the first senior campaign manager who has apparently known her all her life.  The father gives a moving speech at her funeral and given his political position it might be more dramatic than sincere.  In fact, hardly any of the male characters in the film seem to look to Molly’s character beyond what they can get out of her.

After the idealist staffer learns Molly’s secret, his demeanor totally changes.  When Molly begs him not make a call on her phone to find out who called her (which he does, prompted by playful jealousy), he doesn’t listen.  And when he knows, he immediately drills her for information.  She is no longer a twenty year old woman, but a potential train crash for his candidate.  The next day, ideal staffer writes a note for her to read, rather than talk directly to her, then shreds the note in front of her, and meets her a stairway to give her money to pay for the abortion he tells her to have immediately.  He takes her to the abortion clinic, and drops her off.  Molly looks devastated to be left on her own, but idealist staffer’s response is to use physical affection before leaving-a kiss on the forehead.  This is the first time we see idealist staffer use affection since he discovered her secret.  He uses it to push her towards the politically-expedient solution.  However, when idealistic staffer is fired, then he completes forgets about Molly.  She is left waiting and finally has to find her own way back to the hotel.

The treatment of Molly by the men in the film seems so brutal and harsh.  But it seems very unsurprising when humans become less important than causes, lusts, or props.  Molly was a young woman who wasn’t protected by any of the older men around her.

The New “Arthur”

Arthur  is a movie about a rich spoiled man who never grew up.

Arthur was originally released in 1981.  The remake starring Russell Brand was released in 2011.  And the story is still the same.  A lost person who never had a reason to be responsible or serious finds he might need to grow up before he can get the girl.  Everyone around him wants him to grow up and quit playing around and drinking to excess.  Maybe an arranged marriage is the answer they think.  But personal growth is one’s own responsibility.  And Arthur himself has to find his own reason to “man up.”

The difference in these two films, besides more explicit celebrity player scenes (especially given the American audience is very aware of celebrity party lifestyles), a female nanny instead of the traditional valet, and an ambitious, driven business woman for his fiancée, is Arthur does have to choose to grow up.  On his own.  Without any promises that his new love will take care of him.  Between his wedding and the couple’s reconcile about 6 months go by.  And Arthur stops drinking!   Wow!

And that’s what I like about Arthur.  It is a story of choosing to change.  But when you change, it is something you have to choose for yourself.  And it is not something someone else can do for you.  And the new Arthur is very honest about that.