Friday, November 11, 2011

The attack

S1 : The wind gained speed as he ran like a dog on a fiery chase. The ground was dark and firm, there were no obstacles to be seen for miles, or so he thought. It shook him when the wooden barrier hit him in the face. It's dark colour had deceived him. When he emerged from the other side he felt the small pieces flying in the air around him, but he did not stop. The log house was not too far now. His hands slowly felt for his sword.

S2 : She loosened her grip on the rope. While slithering down slowly she sharpened her senses, dulled her memory and felt the heat in her palms. Her sword did not feel heavy now. The log house was in sight even though the air was foggy. She felt the ground and saw the three guards at the same time. They were motionless but she could feel their alertness.

S3 : He saw the house, the guards and her in that order. The guards spotted him before they had a chance to see her. She ran up the now unguarded staircase. The dust under her footsteps didn't fly up nor the the vibrations leave the planks as she hit them.

Old Garden

Revolutions are mostly filled with stories of pain. The movie starts with Oh coming out of Jail after 20 years and trying to pick up his broken life with his family. He was imprisoned for his role in Gwangju revolt. His lover and the mother of his kid has died while he was in jail of cancer. Her daughter is living somewhere unaware of her father. He tries to retrace the parts of his life which he spent with Han and we are thrown back and forth between present and past and sometimes into a sweetly drawn dream world in Yuans mind.
Do the stories about communist revolutions across the world have similar structure? That was the question on my mind while watching "The Old Garden". At the end i felt this one was told in a much better way than many others. I was painfully ignorant about the communist movement in South Korea and that prevented me from properly understanding the mindset of these revolutionaries. But some faces from the movie left deep impressions on my mind.
The first one would be the protaganist, Oh the young revolutionary who greeted dissuaders who cared about him with a sweet smile. He hid a very strong mind which took the harshest decisions and carried them out behind a deceptive handsome face. Strong conviction in ones ideals, fearlessness and comraderie are typical traits of revolutionary heroes. But the way he would react to the recurring thoughts about the oppression of the state and the cruelty it has perpetrated on his comrades and innocent people was not at all a stereotype. The rage came out as tears.
Then the girl who gave him shelter and protection when he was in hiding, Han who became his lover. She was herself a revolutionary. Her comments when Oh leaves sums up the stereotype female companion of revolutionary heroes, "I fed you, i gave you shelter, i even let you fuck me, why are you leaving?" But above that she was a cool character. She was a revolutionary who was fiercely independent and very feminine. At some point in the movie the story is told from Han's perspective. We could see her mocking at the current state of the revolution and the revolutionaries.
The character which was most memorable was the female comrade who immolated herself while protesting against the factory authorities. The picture of her standing at the factory gate with leaflets and persuading other employees to join the protest and then standing firm when the police tries water cannon to disperse them is still clear in my mind. And later her cries just before she set herself on fire protesting the injustice in firing her. Somehow her voice conveyed the defiance in her, along with her feelings of helplessness.