Weird, weird editing.
Weird, weird setup.
No barrier between night and day, fire and electric light. No barrier between sleepless reality and dreamy hallucination either. Not even the barrier between two different languages exists.
Private homes don’t stay private homes; someone always keeps intruding.
한국에서는 좋아하는 사람이 결혼했다고 좋아하기를 중단합니까? (In Korea, do people stop liking someone because the person they like is married?)
Audio recordings. Each word meaning something.
Cooking—for and together. Remembering, forgetting.
나 너 땜에 고생 깨나 했지만 사실 너 아니었으면 내 인생 공허했다. 이렇게 좀 전해주세요. (I went through hell because of you, but truly, if it hadn’t been for you, my life would’ve been empty. Tell her this, for me.)
What I am writing about this movie is as fragmented as the movie itself. This weird, weirdness was good for me. I was less distracted thanks to that. I didn’t know what to expect, so I actually watched, despite my recent aversion toward all things visual.
The amount of talking this guy does when he thinks she listens: tragic. All the more tragic, because he didn’t expect her to listen; she didn’t speak his “language”—at the surface level. But later he also says, he knew they were of the same kind. They do speak the same language—at the deeper level.
She deletes his recorded files. And he goes back to his empty marriage…
…then he finds out what she did, or thinks he does.
The easiest way to depict marital infidelity on-screen is to use the starkest/plainest/most immediately comprehensible melodrama.
But then there is this. This movie is like a nude painting hanging at a national museum. Anywhere else, the very idea of nude might have been deemed vulgar; but in some contexts, it’s almost classy.
나는요, 완전 붕괴됐어요. (I am… completely broken.)
“붕괴” is such a key word in the movie. But, since the female lead needs to look up the translation, perhaps it’s okay that most people in this world will not understand the context/nuance/feel-of-the-word of this word fully.
All fragmented storytelling aside, foreign languages that you don’t understand do magic for insomnia, at the practical level.
If your lover speaks a foreign language, ask them to record something for you in gibberish (a.k.a. their language that you don’t understand). Their voice + gibberish = best sleeping pill.
Or maybe I’m just the auditory type. Hehe 🙂
당신은 왜 그렇게 시들어가지? (Why is it that you are withering?)
들어준다고 생각했던 여자가 들어주던 게 아니라고 생각해서겠지.
그래서 무서운 거야, 들어주는 게. 들어주던 여자가 없어지면, 그 남자 죽어.
그리고, 그래, 한국어의 포인트는 이런 거지.
And so he cannot sleep. Insomnia, never-ending insomnia.
What’s he gonna do now? She doesn’t listen to him anymore; he cannot make voice recordings while observing her, anymore. He doesn’t even want to make recordings about other people anymore.
“아니, 왜 그런 남자랑 결혼했습니까?” (Really, why did you marry a man like that?)
“다른 남자하고 헤어질 결심을 하려고 했습니다.” (So I could make the decision to leave another man.)
Infidelity has many levels. This layer, where they only kiss once, is the max of the max to which people can go without ruining everything. (Beyond that, not even a museum setting will make the nude painting classy.)
That said, the wife is no idiot. She knows. She fucking knows.
But she hasn’t been breathing together with her husband for a long time.
Instead, this other woman breathes in rhythm with him, even though they barely know each other. (And she’s mad shit crazy. He never stood a chance. Yeah, he’ll never sleep again. She’s going to remain his unsolved case. 붕괴 is the word. He will never recover.)
It’s difficult to beat a relationship that is in sync. It doesn’t matter how weird such a relationship is. All you can hope for is that the person next to you is the person who’s supposed to be there… and not someone else.
Of course, if the whole world consisted of couples who know exactly what they want, then a movie like this wouldn’t exist. Because, even as fiction, it wouldn’t be believable.
Now I want to rewatch “Thirst.” Park Chan-wook sure knows how to capture eternity in a couple of hours.
And I am reminded of one line of a poem that I linked to on 일기.
잠겨 죽어도 좋으니 너는 물처럼 내게 밀려오라
Poetry is so difficult to translate. But roughly, “I will gladly sink and drown; so come, flood over me like water.”
But damn it, this isn’t what it sounds like. Especially that last two syllables, “오라.”
It’s not 밀려와라, it’s not 밀려와줘, it’s not 밀려오게, it’s not 밀려오렴.
It’s none of that, it’s 밀려오라, and damn it, that one last syllable is what makes the difference.
Korean is the language of sentence endings. Therein lie the many nuances that cannot be translated.
This entire movie, “헤어질 결심” (Decision to Leave), is like me trying to explain to you why that last syllable of that one line of that one poem matters.