After work today, I went to see a film with the TIFF goddess (she is a major Toronto International Film Festival sponsor/hobby film historian). Entering the TIFF theatre, I was impressed that there were six people in the room. For some reason, I tend to frequent really odd films which usually have few people in the audience. Anyhow, just before the movie started, someone walked in and announced that “Lore” (a film about children of Nazi soldiers who have to travel across the country with a Jewish companion) was showing in another theatre. So 2 people walk out. Great! We have a total of four people in the room with me and TIFF goddess making up half of the audience.
The movie we watched was Pietà, a Korean film which made its world premiere in the competition line-up of the 69th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion. It also won at three major international film festivals — Venice, Cannes and Berlin. I had read reviews in the newspaper where snobby critics said that “The Master” should have won instead of this film in Venice, which made me wonder as I really didn’t like The Master that much. I am happy to report that this movie was much better that The Master and was very moving, although there was a lot of violence and torture.
Its title refers to the Italian Pietà (piety/pity), referring to depictions of the Virgin Mary cradling the corpse of Jesus. The main character Kang-do, is a thug who cripples people to collect insurance money in lieu of the payments they owe his loan shark boss. One night, after a day of crippling people, a strange woman shows up at his doorstep and claims to be the mother who abandoned him 30 years ago. To test if this is true, he tortures her in various ways and eventually believes that she is his mother. He becomes attached to her and of course, at this point, you figure that she probably is back for revenge after she says:
“Money is the beginning and end of all things. Love, honour, violence, fury… hatred, jealousy… revenge… death…”
Without giving too much away, at the end of this movie, everyone suffers or dies. The film was quite touching though as it depicted how much a mother is willing to go through for her children, whether it be physical torture or self-sacrifice. Korean movies always have the most beautiful crying scenes, everyone looks so pretty! It was sad as well to see all the unfortunate lives who thought that borrowing from a loan shark would give them the ability to make a better life, but in the end there were dire consequences. The main character is a cold, uncaring person who does a good job at inflicting pain due to his abandonment – however, after developing strong feelings for the new manipulative mother in his life, he does change. So there was a message of hope for a few seconds. Alas, did I mention this is a depressing movie? It is also a moral tale to not borrow from strange loan sharks who charge 10x the loan after a month or to care too much about money as it leads to bad things.
After seeing this, I came home slightly sad over this film and wanted my husband to give me some hugs. After a few minutes, he started to complain that he had to pay attention to his dwarfs, as he had accidentally drowned one in a well and the other dwarfs were drinking water from it. Also, the dead dwarf had returned as a ghost to haunt the others. He is one of many addicted to a game called “Dwarf Fortress“, in which the point is to keep the dwarfs in the game happy with beer (they don’t drink water) while building mines and expanding their territory. They also like cats and if their cats are killed by various enemies (dragons, goblins, etc), the dwarfs will become depressed, commit suicide or go on murderous insane rampages. I was feeling grumpy, so I threatened to erase his game. He gave me the puppy dog look along with, “there are dwarf children, elderly dwarfs and baby dwarfs…” He then excitedly showed me the new “Dwarf Therapist” program which lists all the dwarfs and the skills they can be assigned as it is difficult to manage his current 91 – which is a small number, as he started to complain that he was being limited by manpower in whatever he was trying to build next. I told him I was excited for his new therapist program and was now I was going to write about it. He called me a meanie and that was that! Great conversations we have in this household!