Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

More thoughts on "The Way Home"

Not that anyone probably cares, but I've had a few more things bouncing around my head about the movie . . .
  • There are several points in the movie where Grandmother makes a sign, drawing a circle around her chest with one hand. The meaning is never completely explicated. It might mean "I love you," circling the heart . . . but at one point the boy uses the sign, too, as a way of apologizing to neighbor boy he had cruelly tricked before. And he uses it again as he rides the bus away with his mother, at the end of the film. For some reason I like the ambiguity . . . especially because the boy internalizes it and uses it. He is learning her language, emotional as well as literal, unconsciously and by osmosis.
  • There is a scene where Grandmother is fiddling with a small wooden shape-sorter toy, while the boy sleeps (or pretends to sleep) nearby. Some reviewers thought her misplacing the shapes was to indicate that she really was retarded, as her grandson occasionally says, or extremely slow and simple. But I don't think Lee Jeong-hyang was trying to make a Korean Forrest Gump. I got the impression that Grandmother was doing it playfully; she was deliberately placing the piece wrongly, to try to provoke her grandson to correct her and do it the right way. It seemed like the kind of Aikido misdirection that would be suited to her. And while she is illiterate and innumerant, she is too thoughtful and resourceful to be stupid.
  • Some people might think that Grandmother would be contributing to her grandson's spoiled nature by trying to gratify his desires . . . but if watch, you will see that her generosity is universal. She is not doting on her grandson; she is equally generous, thoughtful and open with her friends and neighbors. Gifts brought to her by her daughter are passed on to her sick neighbors. Ironically, it seems easier to be generous when you're poor; practically any unexpected good that comes is naturally seen as superfluous and unnecessary.



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