Saturday, 30 July 2016

Review: Claudine at School, by Colette (1900)

‘Yes, they used to tell me, when I was little, that I had a grown-up person’s eyes; later it was eyes that were “not quite respectable”: you can’t please everyone and yourself as well. I prefer to please myself first of all…’ 
-pg. 254

How quaint to see what was once considered mischief. Time has outpaced the shock accompanying Claudine’s first publishing. The worst ‘crimes’, ‘excesses’, or ‘indecencies’ within the novel peak at insolence, physical torment, and a bite of bisexuality. The modern eye smirks, it smiles, but it does not recoil in scandal. To be fair, however, I doubt Colette aimed to write sensationalism. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Review: Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002 Film)

[Slight spoiler warning: vague references to events after the midpoint.]

Ryu is a deaf-mute and fired factory-worker living with his sister. She needs a kidney which he cannot donate. Finding an advertisement in a public toilet, he pays for a kidney on the black market with his severance package, and his own incompatible kidney. Now that the hospitable has miraculously acquired a kidney, Ryu finds he has no money left to pay for the transfer. He and his girlfriend concoct an obvious plan-B: They will kidnap his old boss’s daughter for twenty-six million won.

Looking at my Madman/Eastern Eye DVD after watching, it amuses me how misleading it is.

Look at that. A man strangling another, about to stab him in the face, overlaid with a scratched-metal title design. ‘Hard boiled,’ raves Uncut. ‘Bites your head off,’ screams Screen International. They advertise the film as a grimy splatter-fest, where bloody bodies stab and bludgeon other bloody bodies in for rip-roaring revenge. And, yes, the film is violent, and dark, with visceral moments – but most often it’s blackly deadpan. A tragedy told as absurdist comedy.