Saturday, May 29, 2010


   Watch this movie. Seriously.
We see at the very beginning introduction to the situation of zainichi in Japan. The protagonist, Sugihara, is zainichi. Going to North Korean School in Japan, he decides one day to transfer to a Japanese high school. Of course his background is known, so we may suspect he will become the victim of ijime.
But there is one thing his oppressors don't know. Sugihara's father trained him in boxing since Sugihara was a kid. He sometimes uses this to beat his son senseless.
So, everyone who wants to pick up a fight with Sugihara, ends up in blood.
That's good, I like fights. Fights in self-defence are not violence. But to make things worse, he starts seeing a Japanese girl, Sakurai.
   First half of the movie is like a collage of sharp cuts, dynamic angles and montage. Then the story deepens. Not to the boring level, though. Isao Yukisada handles this very, very wisely. This crucial point is the moment of the death of Sugihara's friend from times in Korean school. To be honest, his only friend.
After it, the mood is not so bright and cheerful. Sugihara and Sakurai decide to spend their first night together, but then Sugihara decides to tell her the truth about his nationality. The answer he gets is fear and disgust. Sakurai says that she was warned by her father not to go out with Chinese and Korean, because their "blood is dirty". Their relationship ends here.
Don't worry. Sakurai is not that stupid, she will eventually comes to her senses and on Christmas Eve they meet again and have the chance to explain everything. The last outburst of Sugihara is a reminiscence of Shakespear's "Romeo and Juliet", act 2, scene 2:  What's in a name? that which we call a rose
                                                                            By any other name would smell as sweet.
This was the last book Jong il lent him before his death at the subway station. Sugihara screams in a fury that he is a lion. And lion doesn't know about how people call it.
Sakurai admits she was scared, but she overcame it because it was this difference in Sugihara from his peers, that attracted her. His eyes, his behavior, his attitude.
  (more to come)