Friday, April 27, 2007

Gosijo's Analysis on April Snow

I often hear objections of me following up on our HRH, the reason is "waste too much time, it's useless". Today here let me show one use of our HRH - he keeps our intellectual minds busy. How long have people spent on analyzing the drama Have We Really Loved? Almost 8 years ever since it came out in 1999, people still are talking about it, falling in love with it and doing serious in depth analysis on it, publishing books about it even this year in Japan. The same scenario happened for Winter Sonata, Hotelier, First Love, Untold Scandal, and don't miss this, April Snow. April Snow is the latest work of HRH, it's been out for almost two years, of course we should still be absorbing it, 'coz his work always requires the intelligent minds and eyes to savor on it from time to time, and times after times, to fully understand and appreciate it. And if it happens that you run into a year that just odd enough to incur April snow, you should expect some busy minds be stimulated again to review his movie with this intriguing title called April Snow.

The other day our town was "showered" with April Snow, I happened to have some time to take the pictures and blogged about it, see now our dear sister gosijo wrote up a detailed chapter about her thoughts on the movie. I, with pure luck, just received the April Snow Director's Cut from Jaime the next day after the falling of the April snow in our area, so I am really on the mood of providing my thoughts on it. Although I have been avoiding it for a long time, since gosijo suggested that I can share them without feeling any constraint, and I do remember vegasbyj expected to see the ASDC as well, so I'll try to put the thoughts together in a bit.

Here I would like to share gosijo's comments.


I see quite a few comments have been added to your April Snow thread since I last visited. I hope you can share your feelings on AS versus AS DC without feeling any constraint. It's okay to think the movie characters acted in a way we would condemn in our own lives and perhaps in others around us. (I have no right to condemn anyone, I admit that I don't agree with what had happened in the movie.)

For my part, I think these things happen so it is interesting to explore why. I hope I would have the strength to 'say no' in a similar situation. Still, putting aside the fact that In-soo is played by almost-impossible-to-resist HRH, I see the story as being about more than attraction or nascent love. I see solace, there, a mutual giving of comfort between two human beings battered by hurtful events. (It will take a lot of effort to analyze why and how they got into the relationship, would like to try one day, good thing this movie has left so much room to stimulate discussions like this. If HRH does not give us more work to watch we can sure spend our time spinning on this movie. I agree with your summary that they are not only attracted but more of seeking solace, then the emotion grew into certain love)

In In-soo, I see a need for re-affirmation of self, re-affirmation of being able to feel, of finding again the man he thought he was. In Seo-yeong, I see a young woman who is playful, more beautiful than she thinks she is, but also shy, scared, insecure, and so taken by surprise by In-soo's attention that she might very well have wanted to 'say no' but she didn't quite know how. It would have required seeing it coming. (Agreed most of it, just I did not see Seoyeong tempted to 'say no' to Insoo, maybe I can watch another time and keep this in mind.)

I really liked the original version and how it forced us to fill in the blanks but I also like the DC, especially in the way it shows the awkwardness between the two in the intimate scenes (theatre and 1st time in hotel room). Most other movies assume that moments like those go smoothly, or that passion kicks in instantly. It's refreshing to see that a film-maker is willing to explore a radical alternative. (I'd like to discuss this first on my list.)

I especially like the scene when she comes out of the washroom and sits on the bed. You can almost hear what In-soo thinks: "What do I do now?" His choice of action is interesting too. Instead of going to her, he invites her to come to him but it's not a strong invitation; it's silent and he's not even looking at her, to keep the pressure low. And, yet, she comes! Does politeness play a role in that? It would be easy to think that she found him irrisistible (since that's what we think of the actor) but I think she was drawn by his need for comfort. I think that's the main reason she didn't say something like "I can't", which would have been so easy (if you exclude the fact that In-soo is played by HRH, of course). In fact, what I see is that she is conflicted, that she doesn't really want to go through with it, that she's on the verge of saying "I can't" a number of times, that it's not so much an attraction but a response to a call for help. (Interesting detailed analysis. I tend to agree with you. Maybe I should put the analysis of how they got into the relationship on the second of my list. ^_^ It sounds more and more interesting.)

Ah, how I wish the director had shown us how they went from the hug, with both of them on the sofa, to the removal of the glasses, with In-soo kneeling in front of Seo-yeong! Since he left room for our imagination, here's a possible version: first, softening from her initial reluctance, she would have responded to the hug. Not in a passionate way, more in a comforting-comforted way, to continue the motive I've assigned to the scene (others should feel free to think otherwise). Then, he would have hung on to her arms and swiveled so as to sit on the coffee table, on his way to kneeling on the floor in front of her. Then, I see a near-repeat of the scene where he stopped her from peeling the apple, with reaching to touch her hair and the intense look they exchanged except, this time, there would be no inopportune knock on the door. She, too, would reach over, seemingly to touch his hair but, the playfulness in her and, perhaps, the truthfulness, would suddenly want no barrier to intrude in this look so she would take his glasses off. Whether she had meant it or not, In-soo would interpret this as permission to proceed, and the rest would go on as in the movie. (gosijo, did you have experiences in directing movies? or script writing? I also think the gap is a bit large there, but I got used to Director Hsu's style after seeing this movie in such a segmental mode. I just habitually try to fill in the blanks with my own interpretation and imagination, sometimes for a bigger gap like this, I would be helplessly giving up 'coz I had no clue what could be happening in between. Thanks for trying to fill this gap for me. It seems making sense.)

Okay, cut! Enough of me planting ideas in other people's head! And, please, don't be shy if you see it completely differently. Others have said they had strong issues with the theme of the movie and I would very much like to hear more in that vein or any vein you care to bring up. (You did hear "others" having "strong issues"? what are they? All I read has been all positive, so I dare not discuss my opinions, simply I tried to avoid it. You know what? I think I should write it down here in my blog, it's my journal. I don't think I'll hurt anyone, right? Actually no one should be offended because I do love HRH in this movie. Note, I said HRH, not Insoo. And I said HRH, didn't I, yes it means BYJ, word by word. Yeah I like the actress too, she did a good job.)

In the end, AS and ASDC are good movies because they make us think, they make us consider how we would have acted. The mesmerizing presence of HRH is the cherry on the cake although, for my part, I have to give it to him, I truly saw In-soo, not BYJ on the screen, so that speaks to his talent. Also, (yeah, yeah, I said I had finished my comment and here I am, continuing), SYJ did a spectacular job and I think that both actors gave such believable performances because one's craft was enhanced by the other's and vice versa. (Agreed with you, both actings are splendid. I'll touch on this as well)



gosijo said...

Dear H,

Answering your question in the comments in the previous post, no, I don't mind, especially if it helps you on the way to sharing your views about AS and AS DC.

When I wrote others had 'strong issues' I may have been projecting a bit. I know one sis wrote a comment in one of my posts about AS in Quilt, expressing that she disapproved of Seo-yeong's behaviour...and In-soo's as well but was more inclined to forgive a man than a woman.

What I mean by projecting is that I have 'strong views' about the other one of HRH's movies, Untold Scandal. I hope others won't hate me if I share that the first time I saw it, I thought "good riddance" when Cho Won died!!! I've only watched US one more time and I've softened my view but I'm still unsure about this movie, so I can relate to the way you feel about AS.

One final comment about imagining how to fill that rather large gap is that it all stems from the fact that I would very much have liked the removal of the glasses to be shown more slowly. Is it because I would like to imagine doing that myself? Tsk, tsk, tsk! Okay, okay, maybe, but mostly I think it would have enhanced the scene cinematographically because the director has to want those watching to feel they are participants in the scene (have I managed to absolve myself?). On the other hand, perhaps the director saw this as too much of a cliché and he deliberately cut it short.

Must say, I often change my mind about the way I interpret various aspects of this movie.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share and see you in your other post.

HeippieH said...

Dear gosijo,

Sorry for reply late on this one. I have been trying to come up with my opinions on comparing the original AS with ASDC. So I did it in today's post. Now your comment here is again interesting, stimulated my thoughts of comparing AS with US. So expect it to come out soon (which means in a week of so, sorry about my tight schedule.) I might surprise you again, but I know you love to see different opinions, that makes the world more interesting, right? I enjoy your comments and point of views very much, 'coz we are made to think, right?

You mentioned you posted your thoughts of AS on Quilt and other sisters commented. That would be an interesting read. Hopefully one day I will be able to read them.

At this moment, I am interested in sorting out my thoughts on AS and US comparison. See you in a bit (= a week).