• Yoon Jung Hee (윤정희), the actress, has died. She was in Lee Chang-dong’s “Poetry” (시), an unrelenting movie that tears your heart to pieces.

  • Leigh at the BBC

    Watching Mike Leigh’s BBC movies (God bless Criterion). So far, I’ve watched four – Hard Labour, Nuts in May, Abigail’s Party and Kiss of Death. All very good. Leigh’s humor is front and center here, and one is reminded how funny his films are. He’s not just a “purveyor of miserablism.” I still have four more to see (Who’s Who, Grown-Ups, Home Sweet Home and Four Days in July). 

  • notes for a possible piece about 심은하

    From 8월의 크리스마스 (Christmas in August) (1998) 미술관 옆 동물원 (Art Museum by the Zoo) (1998) A very nice review (in English) by Anthony Leong. 청춘의 덫 (Trap of Youth) (1999) 텔 미 섬딩 (Tell Me Something) (1999) 인터뷰 (Interview) (2000) 심은하 married 지상욱, a conservative politician. 지상욱 lost his seat in 2020 in a closely-fought election, losing to 박성준 by 5,771 votes. 심은하 campaigning for her husband. Question: how much of an effect did 지상욱’s marriage to 심은하 have on his standing as a politician? Conventional wisdom seems to think that it was considerable.

  • Tunneling through Tradition

    Life is never easy for a Japanese filmmaker interested in making small, quiet movies. Whether you are Juzo Itami, Naomi Kawase, or Shunji Iwai, any success leads, invariably, to comparisons with the great man himself. The shadow of Japan’s greatest director, and perhaps the most Japanese of Japanese directors, Yasujiro Ozu, looms large over the country’s cinematic landscape and cultural aesthetic. Unlike Kurosawa (too Western in his influences, too taken with himself), Ozu was a gentler, quieter filmmaker. His movies were warm and circumscribed and full of affection. His shadow now looms large, but it grew slowly, methodically, incrementally –

  • Always Look on the Sunny Side of Life

    What distinguishes Sunny (써니) from other movies of its kind is that it is less a nostalgic movie as it is a movie about nostalgia. In other words, the motive that drives the film is less about wanting to relive a moment that is now long gone, but about the act of being nostalgic (and the dangers inherent in it). This is a movie set in 2010, not 1986. The Eighties, you might think, would be an odd period for Koreans to be nostalgic about. After all, this was a decade that began in bloodshed and climaxed in chaos,

  • A Movie Intransigent

    (scavenged from an earlier, now-defunct, blog) Spoiler Alert! – Major plot elements are discussed in this review. Don’t read this if you intend on watching the movie! The Argentinian film Amor en transito (Love in Transit), directed and co-written by Lucas Blanco has all the promises of a great romance – namely, a beautiful female lead and an ugly male one. Actually, multiply this by two – with Sabrina Garciarena as the elusive, mercurial Mercedes, and Veronica Pelaccini as the defeated, defensive Micaela. Garciarena is well-cast here – pale, cool and diamond-hard. Pelaccini, on the other hand, is a

  • The Remains of the Remains of the Day

    Speaking of Ishiguro, the most important moment in the novel The Remains of the Day is near the end when Stevens finds himself sitting on a bench along a pier in Weymouth talking to a stranger. He says: “His lordship was a courageous man. He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lordship’s wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something

  • Links and Thinks 2021-05-25

    1) Regarding the Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure denial: Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Stevens said last week that the board didn’t deny Hannah-Jones tenure. It merely didn’t act on the recommendation because at least one member had questions about her qualifications for a lifetime appointment. Oookay…. 2) Discussion about Ramin Bahrani’s film White Tiger – adapted from Aravind Adiga’s novel (in Korean) 3) Recently, I’ve been using the Obsidian notes app rather obsessively – Files exist as markdown files, a definite plus. – You can connect files in a wiki-esque manner,

  • What I’m Watching – “Journey to My Boy” (아들에게 가는 길)

    This is a movie about disability (both parents are deaf), and the cruelties of children. The director (Choi Wi-an) has a careful and steady eye for detail, and some of the scenes were beautiful. There is a saying in Korean that “a love between a parent and child is like a river, because it only flows in one direction.” Here, the mother (Kim Eun-ju as Bo-hyun) loves her son as much as she hates her own mother for cruelties inflicted on her as a deaf child. But those cruelties were borne of love. And Bo-hyun’s desperate need for