Two films to make you feel better

Being ill, I didn’t do much today. What I did do was watch two simple and beautiful films. The first, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring, is set in breathtaking Korean landscape. Writing or reading the title gives an idea of what it is about: the way things change and how they remain the same. It follows the life of a boy and his master who live a strict Buddhist existence in a small cabin in the middle of a lake surrounded by mountains. In particular, we see how the boy, despite his pious upbringing, is not without human failings and is drawn to the chaotic secular world. Without giving too much away, the ending resembles the start as he comes to terms with the nature of life and finally takes on the role of master.

The other film I saw today is Whale Rider which is similar to Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring in that it also takes place in a beautiful location, is very understated and draws parallels between the past and the present. It is about a Maori girl’s determination to fulfill her birthright as the leader of her tribe. The cliff tops and beaches are pleasing to look at, but the girl’s story of her efforts to win her grandfather’s acceptance is the real focus of this powerful narrative. The tradition of the people and the way it is almost forgotten, but comes back stronger also underpins the tale.

So why did these two films make me feel better? I guess because they are both beautiful, calming and reassuring. Added to that, neither of them has too many bells and whistles. (I say this as someone who hated Avatar). Either that or the lemsip had just done its job…

March 12, 2010. films.

One Comment

  1. Jim replied:

    2 points, 1) 1 SSAWS is just so beautiful and calming, i really want to go to where it was filmed, maybe even spend a couple of weeks on that very lake smoking opium 2) whale rider, again very atmospheric, but the conflict of characters was almost too much to bear – primarily, the grandad – what a colossal douche bag

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