JIFF is Happening

I can hear the dogs at the dog-meat farm howling, and it occurs to me I’ve never mentioned to my family that I actually like that famous Korean dish, dog soup.


The Jeonju International Film Festival is in full swing, with all that entails. I saw two films today: “The Big Durian”, a wonderful comedic semi-documentary about ethnicity and politics in Malaysia (with the director on hand to answer questions) and a Korean collection of short films called “Walking Like Zombie” which only reinforced my sense that there’s something deep and latently powerful about the idea of cannibalism to Korean culture. Koreans aren’t cannibals, of course, but it’s such a food-adoring culture, and a culture whose depictions of relationships in film and art seem always to be so emotionally extreme, that cannibalism seems to just crop up naturally in movies. It’s the third time I’ve seen a film with love-as-total-possession-metaphorized-with-cannibalism as a major theme. Koreans often think my shik-in-jong (cannibal) jokes are weird, but I swear there’s something to this idea that cannibalism as a latently romanticized idea in Korea is not off the mark. I swear it! After all, one rude way for a man to say a woman is sexy in Korean is to declare his wish to eat her, or to declare that “she would be delicious!”

In any case, from the delicious to the weird. There seem to be a lot of Japanese about. I wish I’d clicked a picture of what my friend Il Hyeok called “the cosplay couple”. Cosplay means “costume play” and in this case referred to a man dressed as a young Victorian (I said, a young Oscar Wilde) accompanied by a young woman with dyed-blond hair in a French maid outfit. It was funny seeing the Koreans on the street react to them; almost everyone who passed them turned to look, no matter how subtly, at the weirdoes.

They turned up at the party tonight, too… there was a party for “directors” of films, but Myoung and John Tallman and I got in via Seong Hwan, and met up with a fellow I’d run into the night before, Nigel, who’s working for the Korean Film Council up in Seoul. I’m afraid we bored Nigel a bit, but anyway the party was fun enough.

Lime’s studying, which is amazing… her concentration blows me away. How someone can be so focused is beyond me. I don’t remember if I was, back in my student days. I’m going to go to bed and read a little, once I’ve cleaned my knee-wound with alcohol. Classes tomorrow… argh! Ah well. On goes life, right? But tomorrow night I really must spend some time ironing… after the film I’m seeing I should have some time, I guess. Ah, the busy life.

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