A Mountain

Lime and I went to a mountain Saturday morning, with tea and fruit in our bags. I also packed a nice woollen blanket for us, and we ended up climbing most of a rather big mountain, as well as crossing the scariest bridge I’ve seen so far in Korea. I also packed my leather jacket in case it got cold, which it didn’t; I regretted bringing the jacket, as it made my bag very heavy and I didn’t use it once! Oh, how it hurt my poor aching back! I have pictures, but they’ll have to wait.

Tonight we saw a Korean movie called 귀신이 산다 (A Ghost Is Living [Here]), a comedy about a haunted house. It was alright, but definitely in the light humor vein and not in the least bit spooky or scary. It did have an interesting touch in that all ghosts who’d made their way to heaven and came back on a jaunt seemed to be wearing white 한복 (hanbok, ie, “traditional” Korean clothing, at least traditional according to how people in the last few hundred years have recognized tradition). There was a fair bit of CGI animation, as disembodied hands and feet danced around the house, scaring the hell out of the occupant. (This was one of my least favorite scenes but Lime laughed hard at it.) One of the best showed the results of a series of exorcisms in the house conducted by a Catholic priest, a Korean shaman, and a Buddhist… who managed to resist the ghost the longest, but also failed the most spectacularly, not to fear but to lust.

The question of language was not addressed; while there were small instances of a ghost society—including a great plot out on the periphery of a slightly psychic man who could see ghosts and spent his evenings partying with them, drinking soju and singing songs among them—the ghosts all seemed to be fairly recently dead, so nobody was seen to struggle with older dialects or forms of the language; I suspect in a movie like this, it’d be assumed that all ghosts could understand one another anyway; a universalizing myth would be applied to speech as it was to heavenly clothing. Still, there were some amusing and well-done moments of spirit-possession, a lot of parodies of horror movies—I suspect more than a couple from Juon as well as the one from the Japanese movie Lime mentioned, where the guy climbs out of the TV.

I won’t recommend the film very highly, but it’s good for a couple of hours of entertainment. (Just don’t see it in downtown Jeonju these days: the one cinema it’s playing at now is not well-run and it was out-of-focus most of the way through, even though Lime and I on 3 or 4 different occasions told one of the attendants outside the theater that the focus needed to be fixed. We (well, I, though Lime got stuck translating, poor woman) complained to the manager, who offered a refund. I told him instead that he ought to just make sure his staff does their jobs.) If you don’t see it in the cinema, DVD would certainly suffice, I think. It’s a cute film, and you’ll laugh at least a few times, maybe even more than I did if you have the benefit of subtitles. Though I did understand a lot of it even without.

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