Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- The Familyless-ness Edition

Saw two movies this weekend I really really really loved and one which will probably grow on me. Films that were sad throughout but which ended with joy, healing, communication, and triumph.

The first was 3-Iron. A movie in which we hear no dialog from the main characters and yet there's perfect communication going.

When the story begins, the main male character (who is nameless throughout) is seen entering a house, eating, hanging out, showering. Turns out it's not his house. He lives anchored to any family, any town, any person and survives by breaking into houses and living in them while their inhabitants are out of town. He has a very slick way of determining who is/is not at home.  He picks wealthier houses and one day he enters a house where a battered woman (equally nameless, I think) lives. He goes about doing his usual stuff, not realizing she's watching him, intrigued and somewhat numb from her life.

After a while, she makes herself known and they silently form a marriage of sorts. (Over two days, I think.) He's a perfect house-husband, cleaning and tidying and tending to her in a gentle caring way. And she is a perfect kind of wife for him. When her husband returns to abuse her even more, they run away together and continue their lives of moving through houses.

Now, we know the woman's immediate history somewhat. She's a model and her volatile husband thinks that his life of wealth, status, influence, and position is payment enough for abusing her. Yep, he pretty much thinks he owns her. The woman's probably learned silence by having her soul intruded on. Being a model and being looked at as art by some, by something to masturbate on by others. (Heck, you never know!) But never being seen as herself and tired of explaining herself. She also has been silenced. The male hero, on the other hand, doesn't own anything. Nor is he interested in wealth, position, rootedness or influence. Anyways, why is hero this way? Lord knows. He seems sane enough. He's homeless but clean and obviously was someone's good son.

Okay, maybe not obviously...just my opinion. And everything about this guy is conjecture. Why isn't he anchored to anything? Why doesn't he choose to connect to the world at large? Why does he want to be part of the family --taking photos of himself standing beside the pictures of the houses' owners-- and yet not be part of a family? Why does he not want to influence anything except for the good and in secret? He has all this energy -- a need to golf-- but restrains the energy by restraining the golf ball. (Kinda wish I understood golf so I could get why it's 3-iron and not 7-iron. Is there such a thing as a 7-iron?) Perhaps he has some guilt about his existence or his influence on people...and maybe that's why he's avoiding life. What is he running away from? Why doesn't he want to be seen or known or connect? Yet, he does not steal and repairs the stuff in peoples' houses. But even in this night-elven way of secretly doing good. Either he repairs the stuff in folks' homes as repayment for the night stay or he has a need to do no harm and to influence for good. Gotta say thought that he is not entirely without influence on the lives of others. Because when he allows himself --once that we see-- to do something unrestrained, it leads to harm. And in the first few scenes, we see that his influence for good can also lead to harm he knows nothing about. Basically, one's influence is seen and felt  -- and does harm-- even if one tries to only do good. Life's weird that way.

Love this movie, loved this movie. Loved the silence.  And why? Because to live in life all we need are food and shelter. To live life happily we also need someone to love us and understand us. But in the modern world it's hard for to be entirely untethered from the rest of humanity. Government and society, etc. Hard to be a hermit. Someone's money has to provide for food and shelter. And yes, the film ends happily!!!! Ta-da! Some stuff you have to accommodate. Love it.

Other film was My Eleventh Mother.

Wonderful, perfect, joyful manipulation! I cried four times through My 11th mother. I cried and cried and cried at the end. How perfectly that filmmaker pulled my poor little heart through the ringer. Must get some more tissues. What a great movie.

Basically, it's a kid surviving amid poverty and flaky parental life film. Not sure why Korea just excels in these films about kids with crappy life but wow! Yeah, I know... I'm gushing. Jae-su is a little kid, maybe ten or so, who lives with his gambler dad. Gambler dad believes a house needs a woman and is always bringing women home to be Jae-su's mom. (These women inevitably leave.) Jae-su's real mom has long since departed. When Gambler dad brings the eleventh Mom into their lowly house, the viewer can see that Jae-su expects the usual. 

But they become emotionally connected. I"n time, too. Because Jae-su needs a mom (or a memory of a mom) in order to make him live a happy adult life. And eleventh mom needs to love and to be loved before she -- yeah, it's a Korean film so you know what's spoiler here-- dies. 

I'm a wuss. Any movie about poverty, any movie about suffering kids...and well, it's pretty much a given that I'll like it. So.....I looved this movie.

The third film is Calla. It doesn't exactly fit into the familyless-ness theme but I watched it so... I'll include it. It's a travel-back-in-time to get matters right thriller romance. Well, actually it's a romance with pretensions of thrillerhood. 

Guy (played by way, way, way hot Song Seung-Heon) sees a beautiful woman on a bus and is kinda attracted to her. They kinda pass each other here and there and then he starts getting flowers, a calla lily, on his desk each morning. The girl works in a flower shop. Now, as I've said more times than I care to remember, folks in love in Korea seem to be inordinately shy. (Not like yours truly who is more of a recluse and extremely wounded inept social type with rejection this is shyness of that peculiarly Korean character.  The kind of shyness on which thrillers like this turn.)

Upshot? The girl he's been trying to get the nerve up to declare his love murdered. He's devastated. But I must add that there is hope. After all, a tear, a wish, and a locket can work time-travel magic if you wish hard enough. And so he finds himself tossed back in time with the one purpose any true lover can have: he must save his unknown beloved. 

I'll say that if it weren't for the hotness of the lead character, I would've lost all patience with this flick. It ends well and has a neat twist so sitting through the suspension of disbelief was worth it. Ah, suspension of disbelief, what a lovely lovely lovely thing you are! Good for we religious types when the road gets rocky -- the power to consciously put doubt and fear aside-- and great for we movie-lover types who suddenly have to deal with a very quiet non-macho guy suddenly getting all Rambo on some drug dealer's butt. 

The funny thing is I was supposed to be fasting and praying this weekend. For the health, money, creativity, rejection, and untetheredness issues. I fasted but didn't pray. (Except at nighttime) Just was totally into movies. And yet, God was with me in these films. Kinda like when one repeats the lines of a favorite poem. The act of meditating on the poem is very like prayer. So there I was in the middle of Calla --fawning over extremely hot lead actor-- and up comes a godwink. I'd been working on a section in Life as an Onion when I had one character say: "It's all a matter of timing." And there in the comments section of the Calla site on AZNV is someone saying, "It's all a matter of timing." I smiled. Felt very loved. God with us even in our silly secularities. So... all the movies I watched turned out to be there to heal my soul.

All in all, a wonderful weekend of film-viewing.

My cinematic Brother James  who wrote a review on 3-Iron on amazon clued me into this site.
Free Asian movies. You have to register and download winamp the first time and then you're good to go.

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