Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rolling home with a bull

I was suspicious of whether I'd enjoy this movie when I first heard of it. I haven't familiarized myself with Korean films, though I have been watching Korean television dramas for the past 20 years and enjoyed them as one of my major ways of entertainment. I watched "in between days"( an independent film by So-young kim the day before Friday and I was quite touched how the girl treated her challenging circumstances as a new immigrant with much resilience and courage, but the pacing was a little bit too slow; it drains me in a deep hypnotizing emotion and I still can't pull myself out of the depression long after watching this film.
This film, "rolling home with a bull", is quite different; it lies in between commercial films and independent/experimental films. It has a clear narrative and structure. As the director commented, it embodies the road movie form(so as to show off some korean country side views) as well as a self-explorative adventure into the buddhism values.
I know a bit about buddhism but I am find some moments in the movies quite mysterious: the reconnection between hyun-soo and Paul, the dream sequences Paul had while he was on the road, the burnt-down temple, the wind chime cow bell, losing and finding the bull. Also the way they are tied together to a narrative is quite unexpected especially towards the ending.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The song of sparrows

I have never watched an Iranian film before. The only vague information I have previous got about Iran is that it's the largest country in the middle east,to the right of Iraq, both of which are well-known for their abundant oil resources and government dictatorship.
This film brings me into a whole different world: Karim and his family's living space in the vast mountains, his working place in an ostrich farm, their religion and language, the way women dressed there in long robes covering the whole body. At first, I'm observing, at a comfortable distance, into an Iranian way of life, as the film progresses, I'm slowly taken into the characters. Regardless of my completely different cultural background, I feel as if I could be one of Karim's family member. In no time I became deeply attached to him and was concerned with his destiny every minute. At one point I was hoping this story would last longer and wished I could go to Iran and see everything for real.
I researched the religion of Islam almost immediately after watching the film.
The basic values and needs that define the foundation for good individual and social life include: life, religion, intellect,family and wealth. To protect these basic values, there are five norms:Self-sacrifice, Frugality, Contentment, Individual Sacrifice for the the good of the nation and society, Forgiveness.
The original meanings of the Islamic religion is positive and inspiring for running the society. Although certain Islamic militant organizations such as al-Qaeda have committed acts of terrorism since 70s with tactics including suicide attacks, hijackings, kidnapping and so on.
The ideology that plays a role in this is the principle of Jihad(meaning struggle, or defensive or retaliatory warfare against actors that have allegedly harmed Muslims.) Here the "warfare against Islam" refers to the historical struggle between Christianity and Islam. The terrorist groups created a claim that they are under "attack" and that western society accepts immorality, usury and contracts itself in terms of "liberation of women".