Words

(Old post from elsewhere)

Recently discovered Amazon prime video's selection of Asian movies. Sad Movie, a Korean movie that I randomly saw when I was visiting Hong Kong in 2006, is also on there so I re-watched it. The movie contains 4 mostly independent love stories: a workaholic mom and her son, a firefighter and his girlfriend, a costume mascot and an artist who worked in the same park, an unemployed guy who started an unconventional business in order to keep his girlfriend.

The main characters in those (sad, duh) stories all had trouble expressing their love for different reasons, and in the end they had to communicate their feelings through non-verbal means. That's very Asian, in the sense that stereotypically we are more shy about telling others how we feel.

Compare that with Cyrano Agency. The name is a reference to Cyrano de Bergerac, but I like to think of it as a Korean version of Hitch instead. Unlike Hitch, which put a lot of emphasis on actions, staffs from Cyrano Agency gave their customers carefully scripted dialogs to woo their prospective girlfriends. The customers were to follow the scripts exactly, and wore spy equipment so that they can be given immediate feedback or the next line in case they forgot what they needed to say.

As in Sad Movie, the suitors were portrayed as bad with words and had troubles expressing their feelings. And yet, through the help of the Cyrano agents they were able to deliver the perfect punchlines and ultimately win the hearts of those they were pursuing. In both movies, characters' desire of genuine exchanges is not diminished by their lack of abilities to give them.

There are a few lines from Soo-jung (firefighter's girlfriend) that I thought summed up this aspect of both movies quite well. I wanted to write something about what she said right after the words appeared on the screen, so I think it's good to end this with those lines:

"I keep doing sign language, so I forget how to speak. I remember how to say it with my hands, but not with words. It stays at the top of my tongue. But there are words that even if I remember, I can't say. Maybe I just wanted to hear it from you first."

by khc on Wed Dec 31 17:29:00 2014 Permlink
Tags: writing movie
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