[movie] Moneyball (2011) - adapted from the book by Michael Lewis and directed by Bennett Miller

OK.  Fine.  It’s another Oscar pick.  But the great Aaron Sorkin worked on the screenplay and that’s a pretty fair reason.  And it’s about a man who is persistently pursuing what he believes to be making a difference and you know how the films with “making a difference” stories usually don’t go wrong.  Great writing and great editing and visual pace with the actual video footages of Oakland Athletics games worked into the film.  Brad Pitt continues to show that he’s aging gracefully.  Jonah Hill actually acts in this one instead of just being the typical softy chump.  Philip Seymour Hoffman exudes his badassness even with this small role.  It would be a lie if i say this movie made me want to pay attention to baseball games, but it does make me wanna spend an afternoon at the Dodgers Stadium once again with a watered-down beer and the ever-so-amazing Dodger Dog in my hands in good company.  In that respect, Billy Beane put it right; you can’t help being romantic about baseball. 

BIFF 2011 Day 2 - Jesus Hospital a.k.a. Mink Coat 밍크코트

I haven’t seen too many Korean feature films this year (or ever.. let’s be honest) and this film that I just happened to watch totally by chance was one of the most powerful Korean films I’ve seen.  I walked into the screening about 30 minutes into it and I didn’t know a thing about the film.  I was asked at the last minute to interpret the GV after the screening.

That’s the thing about Busan.  Other film fests usually ask me to do Q/As with filmmakers and actors and it’s great for me because I get to watch all the screeners and meet the people in person and, though brief, actually share my thoughts on their work and stuff.  But Busan has been asking me to interpret press interviews for two years in a row, which are also nice because you don’t have a theater full of people staring at you and it’s very intimate and that’s when I get to meet really really famous people. (I interpreted an interview for Juliette Binoche last year and she was simply graceful.)  But the thing is when doing press interviews, I’m always behind the scene of the festival and don’t get to watch ANY of the films.  (AND they make the staff pay for the tickets if it’s not related to your work!)  So although my day was supposed to end about 2:30pm, when they asked me to fill in for the Gest Visit session for 4:30 showing, I was more than happy to oblige.

It’s called Jesus Hospital in English.  But in Korean, the title is Mink Coat, which is kind of an old-fashioned feminine symbol of wealth in this culture.  Extreme Evangelicals meets euthanasia meets money.  there you have it.  It’s about a hardcore Christian family whose siblings are fighting over whether they should put their dying mother in a coma off of the respirator.  Obviously, the movie is very heavy and the cinematography is mostly close-up and roughly edited, which I loved, but the themes of the movie are also very serious.  Hypocrisy of people of religious faith and how their religious values nearly justifies their judgmental attitude, class issues, premarital pregnancy, euthanasia, mistrust and dishonesty between family members, and how money makes people do some twisted corrupt shit in desperate situations.  

For a low-budget feature film, i thought it was one of the most powerful films that anyone that has a family can relate to.  It could come off as a religious movie (or about extreme evangelical christians who literally pray in gibberish and stuff - i’m sure there’s a word for the gibberish praying but i can’t think of it now).   But the film connects the religious hypocrisy to the real-life crises that can happen to anyone and shows how cunning, frivolous and easily corrupt a human will becomes when faced with seriously conflicting dilemmas involving money, misguided religious beliefs and having the choice of enabling death and life.  ALL cast was simply BRILLIANT with their acting, especially the one who plays the main character, a middle-aged milk delivery woman who is looked down upon and constantly cheated by her siblings and has not much to live for except her pregnant daughter and gibberish prayers.  The script, which was flawlessly written, was based on the real experience of one of the co-directors.  The dialogues were truly raw revealing the rock bottoms of the human nature.   I swear a lot of the audience really took it to their heart.  I myself was bawling because I see so many families including mine go through similar disputes and dilemmas in reality. (minus the gibberish prayers in my family’s case.)

Anyway, I don’t wanna give away too much, but so far this is my pick of Korean feature film at BIFF 2011 this year.  I wish I could post the poster here, but I couldn’t find any online and neither of the staff and actors were carrying a flyer so no scanning here, but I will try to mention it again in the future because this film will seriously make you think hard about the everyday dilemma involving family issues. 

에르난 on Flickr.Via Flickr:
I did some translation work for him and the website of this event and that’s how I got myself and my friends to this even for free.  Being a tattoo artist hosting a tattoo convention in a country where tattooing is illegal is difficult i’ve observed.
Tattoo Virus 2011
Seoul, RoK

에르난 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I did some translation work for him and the website of this event and that’s how I got myself and my friends to this even for free. Being a tattoo artist hosting a tattoo convention in a country where tattooing is illegal is difficult i’ve observed.

Tattoo Virus 2011
Seoul, RoK