The Brilliantly Crafted “Mother”

There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.
―Stephen King

Photo grabbed from Wikipedia

We receive the greatest love from the tender person who brought us to this world, but how far can this adoration go? In the film Mother, she’s willing to reach as far as hell, so don’t you dare provoke her.

Mother (마더 ; Madeo), a 2009 South Korean movie of the acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho, tells a story of an unnamed woman (Kim Hye-Ja) who is deeply devoted to her mentally-challenged son, Do-joon (Won Bin), to the point of taking the role of a gumshoe to clear the latter’s name, and thus, humiliating the investigators of a criminal case.

 

The film’s maternal figure lives a quiet life with her only son, Do-joon, in a village and makes a living as a medical herb seller and unlicensed acupuncturist. Then though not quite right in the head, Do-joon is the shy and quiet type, a perfectly harmless guy–except if he’s called retarded–with a pretty and innocent face.

That is, until a schoolgirl is murdered, and few evidence, like a golf ball with his name on it, say that Do-joon is the one behind it. The case is immediately closed and he is jailed, while his mother, along with her firm conviction, does all she can, dedicating her time and exhausting all her resources, to prove that her son isn’t responsible for the hideous crime.

The powerful storytelling and phasing of the movie is effective and extraordinary. Viewers will be persuaded by this mother’s careful inquisition and sneaky probing that she’s already near the truth and they will agree with her, thinking, “Yes, that’s the real one!” only to be disappointed with her because she’s actually very far from it yet. But failures don’t discourage her, after all, the title of the film ins’t named after her for nothing.

Expect multiple shocking twists thrown at the right time and impressive acting especially from the two awarding-winning actors, Kim Hye-Ja and Won Bin, in the entire 128 minutes of this magnificent film.

A real piece of art that garnered lots of awards and nominations. A must-watch, so you should see it. 🙂

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“Late Blossom”: Love is Ageless, it Knows No Limit

Photo grabbed from AsianWiki

Though your hair may already be graying, your skin sagging, and wrinkles long been forming on your face, it can never be too late for true love.

Late Blossom (Keudaereul Saranghamnida ; 그대를 사랑합니다), a 2011 South Korean indie film and one of the featured films at the recent 2012 Korean Film Festival in the Philippines, revolves around the lives of four old people whose ages do not limit their abilities to love and be loved. 

 

The Story

Kim Man-Suk (Lee Soon-Jae), a milk delivery guy that uses his motorbike, is a grumpy old widower on the outside but is really soft and sweet on the inside, while Ms Song (Yun So-Jeong), a scrap paper collector and seller, is a soft-spoken old woman who is alone almost all her life. They run into each other before dawn a few times and eventually, develop a strong affection for each other.

Meanwhile, Jang Kun-Bong (Song Jae-Ho), the neighborhood parking lot manager, and Jo Soon-Yi (Kim Soo-Mi), who has Alzheimer’s disease, are a married couple who once had their three children living with them but, naturally, as they started having their own lives, left the couple living alone yet contented together.

The two couples journeyed through old age accompanied by each other’s love and new-found friendship.

Just like what I said in my blog entry, All Hail the Hallyu Wave! (2012 Korean Film Fest)Late Blossom is very touching and was worth more than the every tissue I pulled out of my pack during its screening in the film fest. I am not the emotional type, but I cried while watching the film, when my friends and I were talking about it right after seeing it, when I retold its story to my sister, and even when I remembered some of its scenes while I was on my way to work. The film was that amazing in pushing the right buttons of its audience.

And how can it fail to be great when each role, whether major or minor, was played by an actor who’s expert in his or her field, plus the fact that the South Korean film industry has a seemingly effortless ability to make everyone cry with just the right facial expressions, words, settings, and angling of the scenes. With that, it is not surprising when it became a box office hit in its home origin.

 

Thoughts, Sentiments

(Warning: Spoiler Alert)

“That’s how I wanted to grow old,” Ms Song murmurs as Jang Kun-Bong slowly walks away, relieved and thankful, while carrying his wife on his back. Already late for work, the old man accidentally leaves their home’s gate unlocked which enables his wife to go out and wander around the village, oblivious of how she’ll go back. Upon learning about this horror, Kun-Bong then spends the next hours running and shouting around the neighborhood, looking for the love of his life. When he finds her walking with Ms Song and Kim Man-Suk, he runs toward her, very much worried, and holds her tightly. This scene, filled with strong emotions, is when one can learn how powerful love is, that it can incessantly work its magic despite oldness and the other half’s shortcomings.

The enormously worried Jang Kun-bong holds his wife tightly when he finally finds her. (Screencap from Late Blossom)

Ms Song’s sentiment may be the reason the movie gets a sobbing crowd. Or at least in my case. Everybody wants to grow old with someone who shares the same passionate feeling as ours, and whose only condition in perpetually loving you is just you being at their side through good times and bad times. Just that. It doesn’t matter if you’re not able to give as long as you’re simply there, breathing the same air they breathe, and occupying the same space that they do. So just imagine that thought, coupled up with a film that shows exactly that kind of unending love rolling right before your eyes, and you’ll surely be fumbling through the things in your bag, hoping you can finally get a hold of your tissue. I’m speaking based on experience, yes.

Then as though the tears that already flowed out of your eyes aren’t enough, the film continues and later on, the viewers are presented with a weeping old man on the verge of committing suicide with his wife. He can’t take the fact that due to a severe disease, death will soon be snatching his beloved away from him. “Goodbye. I’m a timid old man. I couldn’t go on without you. So hold on to my hand. Let’s find each other again,” the married old man is saying behind the camera, as the scene zooms out showing the now departed couple, peacefully holding each other’s hand.

Again, everybody wants something like that. Who doesn’t? There’s a realest of the real love that even death can’t completely break into two. It’s somewhere out there, and the only thing you can do is wish that someday you’ll be one of the fewest lucky winners of that kind of love. But what are the chances? That is the question.

Like teenagers. Grumpy but sweet Kim Man-Suk and soft-spoken Ms Song on a date. 🙂 (Screencap from Late Blossom)

Then if sweet love exists, there’s also a bittersweet one that no matter how you admire each other, you have to willingly let go of the relationship right away out of fear for possible heartaches and sorrows.

While walking home from the late married couple’s wake, Ms Song tells Kim Man-Suk that she’s going back to her hometown ’cause due to age, both of them will both depart from the world soon, and she won’t be able to take it if the latter goes first. As a person who has been lonely almost all her life, she thinks it’s better to stop what they share right away than wait for that moment to come. Upset by what he just heard, old Man-Suk walks out, leaving behind the authentic, black leather gloves which the old woman gave her, but comes back immediately when he finally comprehends Ms Song’s sentiments. He agrees about the set up but asks the woman if they can meet each other before they both pass away. At the end, Man-Suk leaves the world looking elated while Ms Song hears the familiar sound of Man-Suk’s motorbike, opens the door, and finds him outside, flashing her a smile and inviting her for a ride. They’re finally reunited and nothing can hold back their happiness together anymore.

I read before that if a man truly loves a woman, he will let her go. Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s it. And that form of sacrifice is indeed very touching.

 

How about you, have you watched Late Blossom? Did you cry as much as I do? If so, what do you think is the reason it was able to conjure so much emotion from you? 🙂