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[Opinion] Uncomfortable Movie

Posted September. 11, 2002 23:20,   


Director Lee Chang-dong is an uncomfortable man. The Venice Film award winner said in a press interview at the airport, “I would like to thank audience for watching the movie with a uncomfortable story and message.” He was saying that he made “Oasis” uncomfortable for audience. Lee, in fact, broke the conventional rule of making romantic movies - Reality must turn into a beautiful world where a good-looking man and a lovely woman fall in love.

▷Those uncomfortable feelings, however, are not just due to the ‘not so beautiful’ love story by an ex-convict and a woman with cerebral palsy. We find ourselves in the woman struggling to say something and make moves. We feel shamed of our selfishness watching the scene where his sister-in-law says to the man of no idea “We were much better with you.” The movie is more realistic than the reality. It’s like putting under our nose the truth about our life we are most reluctant to face. That’s why we feel uncomfortable.

▷We are supposed to feel uncomfortable facing the truth, when facing the truth about ourselves, in particular. The saying, “Ignorance is bliss”, tells something. A person of straight talks is not welcome anywhere. So we need to learn how to speak diplomatically. Dr. Phil, a psychologist who appears in Orphra Winfry Show, says that he found out long ago “People hate to hear that they are wrong.” According to him, even those asking for advice do not want to face the truth. They just want to assure themselves that they are right and others wrong.

▷U.S. political economist Robert Ricey points to that a new breed of “attention service” industry is booming in the U.S. It provides customized services by telling only the truth customers want to hear. Mental therapists and fitness instructors listen to what their clients say to make them feel comfortable and like talking to friends. Then, we must feel relieved that we have someone telling about the true truth. Lee says that people grow stronger while dealing with the hard reality and come to face the worse. It’s good to have a director like Lee who lets us face the uncomfortable reality through his work.

Kim Soon-duk, editorial writer yuri@donga.com