Sunday, March 07, 2010

Weekend Movie-Viewing: The Suffering Silent Lover Edition

Okay, there's a lot of suffering silent lovers in Asian films. Perhaps the Asian culture has more about self-sacrifice than the western culture. (But I've seen a lot of movies with silent loving western types.) Who knows? Not in the mood to ponder too much now.

So I saw two movies. The first was Diva Love, a Taiwanese romantic comedy and the second was Ditto, a Korean romantic version of the American film Frequency.

Diva Love was so forgettable, I not only forgot scenes from the movie, I actually forgot what the entire film was about and had to jog my memory. Okay, so here it goes: Gorgeous hunk sees gorgeous girl and says, "if she's destined for me, we'll meet again." So, of course they meet again but this time -- as happens in sacrificing suffering lover films-- she's with some other guy. His brother. She's married to HIS brother. His brother (of course) is weak and is fooling around with a secretary. Long story short, yadda yadda, they get together after brother and sis-in-law divorce. The only good thing about this movie was the actor...quite cute. The bad thing about this flick: the depiction of Asian young modern woman. She's hip and modern but kinda cute floozy-lite. She has that kind of "what the hell is this offense?" thing that women in these flicks have? I mean she gets offended about something -- I guess to show she's a strong woman-- but really there's nothing there that would offend me. But it's the kind of offense one finds in western and eastern romantic show the woman has a mind of her own and is real deep. So, yeah, whatever. But what was really especially annoying was the forced giddiness when she gets drunk or feels sad or hopeless. Yeah, I know... it's supposed to be cute. Well, it's not.

Not that women in the Taiwanese culture can't be cutely drunk, or cutely tempestuous. But honestly, I don't know if they really can do it in such a western way. (Am i being too provincial here?) Those kind of silly tantrums and shouting in a restaurant and well...all those stereotypical young woman drama.... I just felt it was way borrowed. I'd have preferred sexual humor founded in the Asian culture. But then, as I said, I could be talking out my ear. Maybe all young drunk sexy things act this way....and that's why guys love them.

So the next movie.... now this one was sadder...seeing it's Korean and all. In Ditto, a boy from 2000 and a girl from 1979 talk to each other on Ham radio. Usual stuff happens but then boy tells girl who his parents are. SPOILER!!!! Yes, boy is the son of girl's present boyfriend and present best friend. From the moment the girl hears this, she withdraws from life. And she lives her life in sorrow. (People love real deeply in korean films.) But then there is the chance that she could fall in love with the son of her boyfriend. But when she meets him (in the present) -- although the sparks are all there-- she does the same thing (DITTO, get it) that she did before ...bypass him. Thus she dooms herself to sorrow for the rest of her life.

Okay, call me a hopeless romantic. But why couldn't she have hooked up with the son? I thought about it. First, I suppose because she couldn't have fallen in love with a kid younger than she was. There's this weird Korean thing about age-friends. So it would've been weird. Second, she would've been in love with her old boyfriend, really. Not the son himself. Thirdly, if she chose to love him she would've been intruding yet again into someone else's life -- the young girl the kid from 2000 is kinda sorta hanging out with. (Okay, a very romantic part of me wanted the girl from 2000 to somehow be the daughter of the 1979 girl. In that way, the children could've gotten together even though the parents didn't. Yes, I wanted that because I'm hopelessly western. And because, great marriage though I have, I totally think a person could love again. There can be more than one great loves in a person's life, no?)

So I wasn't real please at the ending. Then I got into a discussion with a friend who really loves sad movies. Too much so I think. And I got to thinking about the willfulness of hopelessness. Nihilism could become so romanticized in some people that hope offends some people. (I am not naming names but it got me annoyed that he wouldn't want to give these characters hope. And it got him annoyed that I kept insisting on a hopeful way out of the story.)

Dang, that someone could hold on to hopelessness with so much willful intensity! No, I don't think so. Give a character hope, I say. But what got me was the willful need to be hopeless. Very annoying. Anyway, that's my internet movie stuff for the weekend. -C

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