Sunday, July 25, 2010

I step on Andy Warhol's face!

I got a call from my lady. "Come down quick," she said. "There are cheap shoes sales going on, and I got a pair saved for you." So I met her outside a shoe store on Broadway. It's one of the stores I pass by on the way to work everyday but never thought about dropping in. For those of you who know me, I'm the biggest slob there is. I wear whatever's there. But the fact that I've been wearing same black sneakers my sister sent me a while ago (she works for Columbia Sportswear which is great. Thank you Yoonmee!) had been bothering my lady. She was determined to get a pair of Summer shoes for me for a while.
At a first glance, this pair was not very unusual.
"Aren't they cool?" my lady said. Fragile: Handle with Care? Then I realized there are people's faces inside the shoes.
There were pictures, of Andy Warhol for the right foot and Candy Darling for the left. The pair was on sale for twenty dollars. I tried them on. Squishy! The idea of Warhol and Darling under my heels made me giddy. My lady eagerly paid twenty dollars for them.
I don't care if you accuse me of being hipster-ish at an old age. I'm happy to report that their faces are finally in their rightful place.

Hollow Dance

Mother (2009) - Bong
How far will you go to prove your child's innocence? Kim Hye-ja, the reigning queen of Korean tv drama plays the title character in Bong Joon-ho's Mother. He uses Kim's presence to the fullest here. Those big fawny eyes, raven's nest hair, wiry frame. She has been the mother of Korean collective consciousness for the last 40 some years. And she is a force to be reckoned with.

As he demonstrated over the years, Bong's a very talented director, churning out well polished dramedies (Memories of Murder, The Host) with everyman's touch. As we go through the moral muck of the small town ghetto, filled with poverty stricken swindlers, retards, incompetent police, glue sniffing high schoolers, we recognize right away that we are in Bong's world. Mom yells at her idiot son at a visitation after he gets arrested for murder, "Why did you sign the confession? You don't do that even if you are guilty!"

Like in Memories of Murder, Bong's not in a hurry to reveal the murderer. That's not really what he's after. There are plenty of small details and characters he wants to present first. It's not about child prostitution, not about broken family and not even about ineffective judicial system. Bong's very good at his own brand of storytelling. But I feel that he shortchanges those important elements to do so. Ultimately, it's about celebration of motherhood. But it feels hollow somehow.