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Meeting Takeshi Kitano on Alley of Kwangbok Dong

Posted November. 06, 2002 23:10,   


Like a fate of death which refuses to be shared with others, watching a movie is an event that I feel everyone becomes alone even with so many people around, watching together. One of my friends who was mad about watching movies refused sitting with others and eating popcorn in the theater. When he watched, he looked intensive and tensely concentrated unlike his normal loose statue.

In the Pusan International Film Festival, I am acting the other way around. Due to my job of a film critic, I can enjoy as many movies as I want without paying a dime. I do not feel like taking in a movie, which attracts lots of viewers with a hype. A film attracting many tends to fail to impress me. Moreover, the viewers in the theater are mostly filled with the folks I know. I feel like sitting at a block party with my neighbors. On top of that, movies of that sort are coming to theater nationwide in the near future. Nothing to be lost missing them at the festival.

I got disappointed when I actually watched the Japanese movies like Hanabi and April Story, whose distribution was previously banned in Korea. I just got curious, I guess. When seeing them in person, I felt like waking up with a lady who looked beautiful only at night with a thick makeup on her face.

In the festival, I become a king served only with delicious dishes. At my will, I can gulp up as many motion pictures as possible. Or I could throw a party of criticism on the beach with my friends, drinking beer and appreciating those dishes.

But I can`t do that with SOME movie. My soul is wandering aimlessly on the wind breezing along the beach, letting me forget where my body is.

Encountering The Time to Live and Time to Die on the big silver screen, not through the video version that feels like condensed, I felt as if a bird having no legs was flying over the green appearing fatigue into which darkness of a china and transparency of emerald has mingled. Moreover, the actor only in his underwear was dancing in front of the mirror. Thereafter, from time to time, I look up to the sky, watching the legless birds flying through the air of a city. Sorrow thrown to me by Hou Xiaoxian through The Time to Live and Time to Die. The director, refusing the speed in the western movies, is fishing up the souls of the characters, taking steps at a snail`s pace.

Realizing myself in a mood to get excited appreciating this type of movies as a guest in a festival, I turned myself into a festival participant, dancing with other viewers, encountering a comedy, a musical or an animation a day.

Suddenly I reminded myself of the moment I ran into the female director Clara on the street of Kwangbok Dong. She was walking with her boyfriend hand in hand. They looked like a couple of birds. Actually, I had experience with female directors. I met them in group at a party before. Somewhat I could think of another Clara who showed calmness and sincerity through the movie Citroen in 1967 wherein the sky feels endlessly board. The gifts Pusan gave to me? Simple: running into Clara and watching the Million Dollar Hotel, which is directed by Win Wenders, with Win. That`s enough.

What really mattered was not the number of movies I watched for one day, nor the movies played at the festival. The essence of a movie festival, Europe or Asia, comedy or fantastic, lies in enjoying a movie of favorite subject, and just enjoying those one wishes to.

Therefore, if you meet Chai Ming Ryang or Takeshi Kitano in this year`s festival, you don`t have to be surprised. What a festival also means is the harmonious transformation into one of viewers and makers. In Pusan, I will get filled with satisfaction just with a fall getting deep into the winter and a good movie.

The numerous pure nights of young film manias and the boys, who made the sky an inch lower and the sea an inch narrower, will rush down to the beach of Pusan again. What makes Pusan the real film festival all throughout early fall and winter? Why were there so many nights of various kinds of fish like Trout or Shiri? I may not forget the night when I cried, sitting on the beach after losing, with so much drinking, the wallet a student gave to me as a gift.

This last year, I could not drink with our grandpa chairman Kim Dong-ho when I met him at a pub. I was pregnant at that time. This time, it will be different. I will be there free of all the duties and stereotypes, wearing short pants and slippers, like going for a walk around the neighborhood. The best way to appreciate the Pusan Festival, I guess, is to get excited from now, making a room for the insertion of the Pusan into my memory.