Had to explain to Iole how to do the flirting scene. Gaahhh. We also went over some dancing scenes (I have to do some grieving motion and she has to know when to get up off the floor, also during our kiddie mourn we dance a little) and she nearly jumped on my back in one scene.
Also she called me "Babe" and agreed we should take Tanis out to Sephora and I may have fainted. Tanis' boyfriend isn't really doing it for her anymore so maybe we can help her get a new one instead.
I talked about signing up for French class and Masha thought I was talking about French kissing. Kloris was like "I'd sign up!" and I was like "I would expect you to" and she laughed pretty hard.
One of my lab partners reminds me of Fronk and I'm not sure how I feel about that (anyways fuck Fronk that asshole). But he is pretty nice.
Here are some shows and movies I watched that I forgot to talk about:
First season is perfect, Emma Roberts is really good at character roles, my headcanon is that the Red Devil at the end of season one is the girl with the neck brace coming to kill her, and that's a perfect ending. Season two does not exist. We did get some cool stuff out of it...I think...but nothing like the season one scene where the girls beat up a bunch of boys in the cafeteria in the name of feminism, or where the frat boys get their limbs chopped off to the track "Everybody" by Backstreet Boys.)
In My End is Now My Beginning
Found this by chance on youtube! Did not know what to expect but I actually really liked this - I think the actors did a pretty good job. The frame story "this is a story told by a heterosexual couple making up shit" was a little unnecessary, and confusing, like it was cool that the story element made the narrator incorporate stuff into the story but still. It would be a perfectly good movie without. The whole "ghost ex husband is still hanging around" and "sexy former friend grows out of a plant and manifests as real person" were kind of creative and not the level of imagination people usually would put into a woman love movie, so kudos, I guess. But yeah - I really did like it, even though I don't remember all of it, I enjoyed watching it and the ending was kind of sweet. I liked how the friend hadn't stopped using her neck brace just yet, when she returned to the main character...it was just a small detail that reassures the audience that they do love each other beyond physical attraction.
Of course I had to watch this! I expected this to be mostly boring power play between the two asshole dude characters, but actually this movie was very quick to start and focus on the female main characters, which I liked. The historical setting and fact that it's in Asia also don't hurt, since they add interesting visuals, and I just like how this is an "inspired" version of Fingersmith.
What I especially liked, however, is the fact that race and POC relations actually did play a part in the movie. When I heard the Korean cast had to learn how to speak Japanese I was a little disturbed because this reckons back to Japanese occupation of Korea and forcing Koreans to assimilate and use Japanese names. However, the movie actually addressed what disturbed me - it was about those same exact rocky tensions and unfair power dynamics. The uncle character who is a disgusting man who should burn in hell and who I despise puts it when he explains he wants to assimilate because he considers his Korean side dirty. Hideko also hates speaking Japanese because it IS literally the language of her oppression and sexual abuse that her uncle puts her under. And the director, from what I read, was really careful and sensitive about these stuff - like, he actually reviewed the script with the author Sarah Waters, asked an actual queer woman who was one of the team's friends, and gave the actresses privacy and time and a place to rest when they filmed the sex scene.
The movie also goes out of its way to do things I wanted it to; the asshole con man seems cool and is dangerous idolizable as an "alpha male" image, but then you see him humiliatingly tricked by Hideko and pantsless, also he dies barely escaping getting his dick chopped off. Also like...he made Sookhee put her hand on said organ and almost raped Hideko so you know he's really not a nice guy, but Sookhee responded with a perfect "Don't ever make me touch that small thing again!" which was perfect. The creepy uncle who is the worst person in the world also dies which is great. It is revealed that Hideko actually faked consummating her marriage with the conman all by herself, which gives her much more agency than the alternate option where the conman rapes her. The same thing occurs when she literally uses the poison he gave her against him. Also, the final, really powerful line where Hideko declares to her uncle that he is wrong and no woman likes to be raped? I really didn't see it coming but I am so glad they put that in.
The ending also really made me happy - no tragic lesbian unhappiness! Just two girls genuinely happy and being able to enjoy themselves freely. That really made the movie work for me. The director was the one who actually wanted it to be a happy ending, which seems like a really low bar, but usually that's not the case and I am so happy he chose not to make it all edgy and grimdark. Like, this is the director of Oldboy! One part of it that kind of weirded me out was the fact they used the same silver balls mentioned in the Japanese porn that Hideko was forced by her uncle to read, but in a way, I guess it made sense. The movie condemns Hideko's uncle abusing her, but it also doesn't condemn sex, or sex that isn't all pure and chaste. In a way, the silver bells reflect Hideko reclaiming her sexuality and that sex in itself isn't bad, which subverts the lesbian trope where "it's pure love as long as we don't get sexual." So that in itself was cool. Also there was that scene where Sookhee and Hideko together destroyed her uncle's porn collection, so the movie had already addressed that.
All in all this was a surprisingly REALLY well done movie because of all the attention to detail! I loved it. Some people thought the sex scenes were cliche - I'll admit I haven't seen enough to know if that's true, but I did laugh at Sookhee during one point - but I think they fit in well enough. 10/10 for now.
Oh, also, fun fact: apparently the octopus wasn't just there to show the creepy uncle's fetishes, it also was an homage to Oldboy. HAHAHAHA wow...
Here's some quotes from an interview I really liked:
Starting with Lady Vengeance, there has been a shift toward female protagonists in your films. How did this come about?
It's because in Oldboy, the lead female character, Mi-do [Kang Hye-jung], is somebody who is not privy to the truth. That was something that didn't sit right with me, even though, as the daughter of Dae-su [Choi Min-sik], she needed to be excluded from the truth by the necessity of the narrative. So as I started to develop Lady Vengeance, I got to think about this a little bit. In the film industry, in the realm of the commercial feature-length films, we really haven't had a lot of female protagonists. I got to realize this more, as I was getting ready to make Lady Vengeance. And when you place a woman at the center of a film, it makes the film that much more enriched, and it makes it feel much more sophisticated. Also, I have one daughter, and as she grew older, I had more of an opportunity to talk to her. Between my wife and my daughter, I have learned to see the world through more of the female perspective, and I would call that progress—I became more mature as a person.
Do you see The Handmaiden as the culmination of your exploration of female characters?
I wouldn't exactly call it a culmination, but it's a movie where I pushed the feminist perspective the most. This film is fundamentally different from my previous films because it's about two women—it's not just one woman fighting a lonely battle—but it is two women who find love and form a bond of solidarity. Overall, The Handmaiden is a very simple film. It divides everything into two clear sides, and that's to make a point. It pits man against woman, almost as a battle of the sexes, and you have the female characters forming an alliance to fight against the male oppressors and escaping from them. In this film, all the men are villains and all the men are pathetic. The only cool characters are women. And the only positive male characters in the film are one or two babies [Laughs].
Lady Hideko and Sook-hee prove superior to the male characters, and there's a sense that they don't have any need for men.
Yes, even if that feels like a fairy-tale world—in fact the last scene does feel like that, doesn't it? With the moon, the ocean, and the clouds, with the colors that I used in the last scene, I wanted to imbue it with that kind of beauty. Even if it's a fairy tale, I wanted to end on a note where we're dreaming about this type of idealized world.
The newcomer Kim Tae-ri shines as Hideko's maid Sook-hee. Can you tell us a bit about the casting process?
We saw around 1470 young women during the audition, but didn't end up selecting any of them. We just couldn't find the right actress until the very end. I would like to say one thing about the casting process: if you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if anyone from the short list is the right person for the role, that probably means that none of them are right. An actor should stand before you and you should immediately feel that the person is right for the role, and this was the case when we cast Kim Tae-ri. We came across her based on a recommendation that was made by one of our producers. At the audition, Kim Tae-ri didn't seem to be at all concerned about appearing pretty. She did her best, and she gave the performance in her own way, not something that anyone else could've done. It's as if she was saying "this is me, take it or leave it." Seeing her, I was looking at a very independent and empowered woman.
What do you hope that the audience will take away from The Handmaiden?
Everything that I wanted to say with this film is probably in this one scene where the women are jumping over the stone wall—and notice how low this wall is. Had she ever wished, Lady Hideko could've always jumped over that wall. But the deep-rooted emotional trauma inside her was holding her back. And then this person [Sook-hee] enters her life and she is able to find love. Through that love, Hideko gains bravery that allows her to jump over that wall, in a single breath, toward freedom.
The male characters also appear trapped. Even though they try to control the women, they are prisoners of their own selfish desires. And since they don't know how to love, liberation is not possible for them.
Yes, exactly. It's because of their greed.
I don't feel very happy because to be honest, I feel like I've just been pretty mean to a lot of people recently.
I don't need to really go into it but I said something rude to White Guy during the rocket science project, I offended one of my cast mates who is nonbinary, and then I asked my friend (who has autism) a stupid and unnecessary question.
Like, we made up and joked around later and my friend told me "being rude to white men is doing the Lord's work." I also reconvened with Alecto and tried to apologize to them (though I didn't initiate it, which I'm mad at myself for) and apologized to the last friend (who didn't seem to mind it afterwards, but still, I shouldn't have asked in the first place. So I don't like how mean I'm being and want to change.
On a more positive note, I read out loud my story and the editor at the event said it was everything she wanted out of it. Drama coming in handy, I guess.