12.03.2010

If You Were Me

I watched this film last year but only remembered that I had watched it a few nights ago and thought to share. It was hell trying to search for a film whose name I had forgotten but in here it is; If You Were Me 3 or its Korean title 세 번째 시선 (Se Boenjjae Siseon).

As the name suggests this movie is the third (fourth if you consider the cartoon) installment in a series that focuses on human rights issues in South Korea. All installments were commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and are basically series of short films that that highlight issues of discrimination against all sorts of minorities in South Korean society.

In this movie, six directors were choosen to make films that reflected one issue or the other, most of them had very hopeful endings while others were not easy to watch. I really enjoyed Jeong Yun-cheol's Mohammed: The Diving King which was about an illegal Thai immigrant with amazing diving abilities and almost cried while watching Kim Gok and Kim Sun's BomBomBomB!!! a short on homophobia and bullying in high schools.

I'll cut to the chase and reveal the short which I believe would interest readers here which is Noh Dong-seok's A Tough Life. This short 'tackles Korean racism towards people of the African Diaspora'. Here's a brief summary of the movie;
A grade-school-aged boy returns late to a party held at his house where all his friends are waiting. He arrives with his schoolboy crush, a girl who is Black. Childhood innocence and parental anxieties abound, including a humorous display of internet use in an effort to attempt to resolve a moment of motherly ignorance and childhood inquisitiveness. KoreanFilm.org Review
Now for some spoilers ^^.  I remember finding the movie funny yet sad obviously because of the racism it depicts even among children, the boy's mother does nothing and possibly worsens the situation. I don't know if I would call what some of the kids at that party said 'childhood innocence' because some comments seemed like they could come from an adult's mouth.

As for 'parental anxities'...well. If I recall correctly, the young boy says his crush is American, the daughter of an English teacher at his school. However when she arrives and his friends and mother see this Black girl, they are literally in shock. His mother pulls him aside asking him who the girl is and how come she is Black when her mother is white. The boy explains that her dad is Black but the mother doesn't believe/understand and goes to search online in order to find out what happens when a Black and a white parent have a child together. Now that part was hilarious (still in that sad way) because of the kind of answers she found. I really can't remember much except I laughed hard.

Image source

I felt the movie was realistic in its depictions, for example there was one scene in which the other kids were arguing with the Black girl because they felt she couldn't be American and when she slipped that she was born in Morocco, they went 'You see, you're African.' The ending was not a happy ending per se but it was hopeful with the boy singing a nice song in which he wishes for a world in which people did not attach so much importance to the colour of other's skin. Hey, he likes the girl and stood up for her despite all that happened during the party. It was also touching because the story was about children, imagine if it was about a Korean college-student bringing a Black girl home for a party? That would have been nice to actually.

I'm actually surprised I remember so much of the short (except the names obviously ^^;) considering I'd forgotten about it for a long time (I watched it last year). That reminds me, has anyone here seen that documentary on a Tanzanian woman married to a Japanese man? Let me know so I can find it and put it up here just in case.

16 comments:

  1. Exquisite. Sad, but sounds realistic (the most important part) and effective.

    That pic is pure charm.

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  2. That pic of the two of them is ridiculously cute! And I maybe analyzing a little too much, but I like that it was captured with the boy's chin thrust forward (kind of a defiant "screw you!" IMHO).

    I'm definately going to check this out!

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  3. this is a great find and sounds very realistic

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  4. I like that the little girl doesn't even LOOK mixed. And the little boy looks so adorable and confident! They are so beautiful si
    Sitting side by side to each other with difference in posture, expression, and obviously ethnicity. Yet he wears the expression that seems to cushion hers: she is slightly uncertain, he is confidently possessive as if to say "I'll stick with you my little chocolate princess" ^_^

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  5. @ Kenji
    :)


    I will have to check this out. I like the overall message that children can still have ideals that aren't corrupted by society. Alot of times children have something to teach us!

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  6. he is confidently possessive as if to say "I'll stick with you my little chocolate princess"

    My first bf was Korean, he asked me to the Freshman dance and we dated for the spring/ summer. I thought it was soooo serious cause he was a freshman in highschool and I was just in seventh grade. He called me "Chocolate Cupcake" or "Cocoa Puffs" or "Mrs. Goodbar" and he would try to like eat my face and throat when we made out! I felt like he was trying to devour me!

    I was all like" Dude! I'm not actually made of chocolate you know!" >_<

    One day friend asked:"Do you have allergies? cause you've got these rash/bites all over your face and stuff.
    Other friend: Yeah...it's really bad.
    Me:....What are you talking about?
    Friend: Like here (cheeks,neck,chin,lips) all over.

    Me:Oh ...it must be.... allergies :P

    He eventually learned to get to second base without leaving so many hickies >_<. Scarves in July were not a good look for me LOL
    I guess that was his way of leaving his "mark" on me, and his posessiveness was part of the reason we eventually broke up. Kid stuff.

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  7. @Kenji

    Lol, 'chocolate princess' ^^

    @Student of the World

    I like the overall message that children can still have ideals that aren't corrupted by society. Alot of times children have something to teach us!

    You know I never saw it this way but you are right. I guess I spent time focusing on the negative reactions of the boy's friends and mother. The climax of that movie was quite humiliating on the Black girl's part but he came to her rescue...I don't want to give too much away ^^;

    Thanks for sharing your experience with your first bf. Lolz.

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  8. @ Eccentric Yoruba
    That's also why I liked Revolutionary Girl Utena, same type of themes about how growing up people struggle and often fail to hold onto their ideals. But it can still be done! I think.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with your first bf. Lolz.
    You know something else now that I think about it (its been like 10+ years) I found out he had another "cupcake"! In the same grade as him. And I found that out from one of his friends that he was jealous of me hanging out with.I'm still a lil pissed about that. LOL

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  9. @EccentricYoruba,

    This film and the mini-documentary are a must see. Thank you so much for bringing them to our attention.

    Here is a link to a Tanzanian/Japanese connection with a partial English explanation (they omitted the fun parts like her husband's post-festival drunkenness or the context in which her mother-in-law said "shit happens.")

    Is this the same video you were referring to in your post? Kobayashi Fidea-san rocks.

    http://www.japanprobe.com/2008/02/24/video-a-tanzanian-womans-life-in-japan/

    Since I spend most of my time trying to stay happily married, I seldom venture into anyone else's life, Blasian or otherwise, but I'm very happy to have "met" Mrs. Kobayashi. She's another example showing that we WIN often and we WIN convincingly.

    I endeavor to catch up with the history lessons soon! My tomanized stage won't last much longer. ;)

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  10. @Hateya

    Yes! That's the one I was talking about, thanks for the link.

    (they omitted the fun parts like her husband's post-festival drunkenness or the context in which her mother-in-law said "shit happens.")

    Oh my days! I can't believe they omitted that out, it would have been fun to watch.

    And you've met Kobayashi Fieda? That's awesome, I think because she was on TV ^^

    I endeavor to catch up with the history lessons soon! My tomanized stage won't last much longer. ;)

    Lolz good luck with that and I'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

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  11. @EccentricYoruba,

    Thank you again for bringing this to our attention. As for the naughty bits about her husband and mother-in-law, they are included in the video, just not mentioned in the English explanation.

    I've never met Kobayashi-san in person, only through the video. I wish I had conveyed that better. Ugh. If she's still in Nagano, I can find her the next time I pretend to attend a useless conference about something unimportant. ;) I'll be actively looking for an opportunity to meet her and Takahashi Emi-san (from Bcbgrl33's "Kiku and Isamu" post).

    I'm off to bed. New days always sneak up upon me. I won't forget the history lessons as I honestly and sincerely believe that knowledge is power. Gorgeous links to my "disease" forthcoming. ;) No one's happier than my husband that it's nearly gone.

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  12. Thanks for the link, Hateya! Get well already - you've been sick for a while!

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  13. @Hateya

    Oh I see! I've watched the video a few times but I still don't remember much of it except the beginning.

    If she's still in Nagano, I can find her the next time I pretend to attend a useless conference about something unimportant. ;) I'll be actively looking for an opportunity to meet her and Takahashi Emi-san

    I hope you get the chance to meet them! Hope you slept well!

    Gorgeous links to my "disease" forthcoming. ;)

    Lol, I've been waiting for those links since November. But is it nearly gone?

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  14. Thanks for the great post and here's the picture w/ better resolution.

    http://gradius2.egloos.com/5445886

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  15. @Ankhesen

    Thank you. I've almost completely recovered from my real world life-threatening illness. I sometimes wonder what I posted when I was virtually delirious. During the break, I'll try to be more productive here.

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  16. @ Hateya

    Good to have you back. Email what topics you're kicking around your brain - it would be nice to chat.

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