Saturday, November 10, 2012

Palwolui Christmas

What, finally, do we leave behind? More importantly, what do we think we are going to leave behind: is it permanence established and enshrined through concrete, famous acts; or is it a seed floating in the air, in memories of someone who cherished you, who loved you, who could not live without you, but now is living, surviving you, maybe has forgotten you mostly, and yet through whose unconscious shapings of destinies, a merest flutter keeps living - as if one were the wind, with no name and yet everywhere? It is with this timeless pondering of men that Palwolui Christmas (int'l title: Christmas in August), a beautiful film from S. Korea, and Asia, deals with: but not philosophically, nor discursively; but poetically, through a beautiful romance that even if will not be fulfilled will never be called doomed, that even if never uttered will long survive all the vociferous pulsations of men and women - like a river that will flow on, as the seasons change, wilt and bloom.

Photographers, equally those that take passport-size photos as those that capture lands and people, have long held my imagination: often, I have thought of this tribe, who are so sensitive and so much at peace, yet. Han Suk-kyu as Jung-won, a small photographer, plays the role to a poignant perfection: he has long ago accepted the inevitable but he has held on to his character, his patience and his goodness through it all; and through it all, he understands and cares for the people who come to his shop or whom he meets, even if the contact would be a moment's. Every moment can carry great significance; the old woman has a long family to remember her, but Jung-won's desire to have his memorial portrait taken is not absurd even if he has no one he's leaving behind: he will be rather immortalised through the portrait of the girl, who loved him over all the other smart, macho and more ready men, for whatever he is. The girl whom he could carry with him to his sleep: a love that was beautiful for being only felt, in little intimacies, in stolen instants, under umbrellas in rain.

He leaves, and yet she is stronger; he is not, and yet she will always know he is.

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