Hello Jeny, it's me! I couldn't resist sending you a message after seeing you mention Snowpiercer. Remember I told you my life was looking up? Part of it includes having spoken to a ~top behind-the-scenes person~ of the said movie, hehehe.
TELL ME EVERYTHING
I’m so glad this movie exists, saw it just as I’m getting into soc grad work; I’ve been dragging my feet with the textbooks, so it’s great timing! Recently read this commentary and loved it; your thoughts? Is this pretty close to the intention? DOES IT EVEN MATTER but I’m still curious :)
There’s this one scene in “One Fine Day” where Michelle Pfeiffer crawls into bed after the evening routine of cleaning, packing lunch, screwing caps back on bottles, shoving items into the limited refrigerator space under the kitchen counter, etc. and then she takes like five seconds to leaf through a couple of pages of today’s newspaper before TOTALLY giving up on the pretense and simply flops down on the mattress. This is the adulthood I aspire to have — a shaggy-haired kid, a full-size bed, a kitchen with at least three walls, minimal guilt when shoving an afterthought cookie into my mouth.
INSTEAD I’m eating a green tea Kit Kat on a borrowed bed and internet; earlier I crushed a light bulb in my hand. I hate Chicago so, so much.
“Chris Evans, he’s actually just a very, very sensitive guy. You don’t notice that immediately because he’s so muscular and strong. But he’s actually very delicate. You have to approach him very carefully and almost protect him as you work. He’s an extremely intelligent guy. And he also looks at a film from the director’s point of view. He’s also a director. So sometimes he’s just very, very focused and into the scene as an actor…But then other times he’ll [step] 10 feet back and see the whole situation as a director and come up with ideas or give his input. So he had this interesting way of going in really, really deep then also being able to step back.”—
JENYYYYYY! WE RECEIVED YOUR POSTCARD! DANA HERE! <333 DUDE, YOU FILLED ME WITH SO MUCH LOVE AND GOOD VIBES! Please check my LJ when you have time as I did an entry for you where I also ask to PM me with your instagram account :) You do have instagram, yes? :) Oh, oh, and please PM me with your snail mail address again because I want to post a postcard I already wrote for you, postcard I bought from a beautiful catholic church I went to recently in one of my wanderings around Romania <3
DANA YOU ARE MY SOULMATE FOREVER <3 I uncovered the Christmas package you sent a couple of years ago and plummeted into this bout of nostalgia, which, fuck that noise, nostalgia is always fixable imo. So I will write more often! Started by sending you a couple of messages :D
also super important question: did they ever use subtitles for the korean dialogue? i saw a rip and i thought it was intentional, but.
YES and I loved it, it was AWESOME; Bong’s decision to cut most of the in-translation and force you to listen to the native expression is terrifically defiant and like, essentially what makes it art. Like fuck the realism, this is a message. I dunno, it was actually really hard to focus on just Curtis because of those important little details.
I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT MOVIE FOR SO LONG AFTER I SAW IT
TIPS ON HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT? Yesterday I had a blip of a, like, Spaceship Earth-esque epiphany, and I kinda wanted to liken the whole experience — because that’s what Snowpiercer was, experiential — to dirty sci-fi, and characters that must die, must die, in order for there to be a Part II. It sounds like many people see it as a giant allegory and I GET THAT, but what made it charming and likable was the dark humor/acknowledgement that shit was about to go down, and therefore even identifying the allegory was so in-the-past. As thingsfreelygiven mentioned, the surreality is just heightened by that sense of emptiness, both external and internal, which is EXACTLY like science fiction, where things seem to happen in isolated environments.
I MEAN doesn’t it remind you of Harrison? It reminds me of Harrison. I really wanted to read my soc books, after.
So wiser folks than I have already talked about the racial and capitalist commentary present in Snowpiercer, but it got me thinking almost immediately about organized religion.
Here is the train, an enclosed culture, a microcosm. Outside the train: Hell. You cannot step outside of the train because you know, for a fact because you’ve been told, because you think you’ve seen, that there is certain horror and death outside. You have been told this. You believe this.
Yet inside, there is hell as well. Conditions are poor. For arbitrary reasons, your life is an unending horror. You are told that all of this can only be at the whim of an unseen genius, a master of the world that you live in. A god.
Okay, so hell outside, pain inside with a focus on the god/devil who controls everything. There is also an old man. A kind wise man, who martyrs himself to save a child, to feed the hungry monsters. A man who would obviously be a better a god than the one that you know.
Fine. So you will kill god and replace him. That seems like the best action. It makes you a sort of prophet, you will go ahead and clear the way for him. Because though you hate the god, you also believe in him. Surely he is the reason for all this suffering.
You clear the way. You fight back against the evils that you see. You even, at the gate to heaven itself (and the engine is a sort of heaven, it stands at the top of the world order with a shining gold door and behind it is the man who knows all) and there, you even absolve yourself. You make confession to a different sort of holy man. Minsoo listens because he is a man who listens (but he is not of your religion. he has rejected a tenant on which it is built: that there is only this world or the outside hell. he does not believe. so your confession is worth little, except to you).
Congratulations, you meet the god. He is, as you suspected, also the devil. The wise man warned you not to let him talk, but talk he does because the devil will always speak. He tells you the hard truth: the wise man and he are the same. Because all gods, even the kind ones, are the same. They stand at a distance from humanity and they pass judgement as they drink wine. Gods are ineffable, distant as the sun.
So you kill god. You kill yourself, the prophet. You burn it all down, to save a child, to save your own soul though now you cannot be sure from what.
Minsoo believes in something else altogether. In the hard testable facts. He took measurements, he experimented. He understood that there was something beyond the religion of the train. Minsoo is science.
But science doesn’t kill god. That takes a true believer.
And there now, standing on the frozen wastes, an unlikely Adam and Eve. You kill god. And now there is something entirely new. Another first page after another Big Bang.
FLAILS like the only word that comes to mind when discussing what drives Curtis forward is “fantasy.” What a provocative realm of a film, just like, a cauterized wound, pulled reactions from you because it’s things you understand but are unsure of how to explain. I’m just so impressed.
At some point, my ancestors were farmers. This is a versatile truth, like how you can say parents are farmers. Teachers are definitely farmers. Student athletes are farmers. When you talk about producing what is necessary, cultivating true nourishment — while dealing with unknown elements, endless input, attitudes rejuvenated with each new year — then certainly, many people can be considered farmers!
It’s not accidental. For example, I say my family comes from Hong Kong because the people who literally brought me into the world grew up in Hong Kong, and the remnants of their journey are so ingrained in familial history that I feel obligated to carve a space for it in my own identity. That pride and tradition is easily, seamlessly handed down. The fact is, my father was raised by farmers. His grandparents lived on a piece of arable land in the New Territories, the remote perimeter of metropolitan Hong Kong, and a few years after his younger brother was born, he moved there to live with them. While jogging around the indoor track of the Shoreview Community Center, he used to tell me stories about eating tomatoes straight off the vine, of sleeping with the dogs in the barn, slaughtering chickens, using a lantern to guide his grandmother back from the center of town after watching a film, so they wouldn’t get lost out on the old rural road.
Ghost stories happened in the countryside of Hong Kong. It was eerie, disturbing, not to have your neighbor within shouting distance. Who would you go to for help? My cousins, who also grew up in Hong Kong, would buy comic books where horrible things would always occur in houses, never in apartments, never in the city.
I inherited this too, though it took time to realize it. I’ve always felt that parents like mine have lived a lifetime, and then some. Lots of movement, lots of big leaps. Eventually my father moved back to the city to start school, to graduate as valedictorian, to become the first in his family, in his generation, to attend university overseas, to earn a Ph.D. Am I supposed to mourn the loss of his agrarian experience? It shaped who he became, but it has little presence, now.
Lives are not always rooted to the land, and that’s ok. I’ve made my own way back to the farm, which means these things are cyclical, and have a habit of circling back.
Read more from our July Newsletter here. I really need/want to develop a content plan; if anything, it forces me to write!
Like just backlog the fact that my problem with Chris Evans is that I actually know someone who looks and ACTS (oh, my god, even the same woodsy shit) like Chris Evans, which is SO inconvenient and etc. hence all the red flashlight waving and spinning mobile of obtusity, the awkward geometry of gross feelings.
Which happens to be adjacent to never seeing Snowpiercer, something scarily close to happening.