Dasepo Naughty Girls (다세? 소녀)

This review of the film and the comments combined represent my feelings about it — it could have been quite brilliant, and it wasn’t bad, and it put a lot of things front-and-center that most people around here seem more comfortable not looking at directly — things like teenaged prostitution, for goodness’ sakes, or the “requirement” to have a religion (it killed me to see how many of the high school girls, once ensorcelled, took up Islam and Hinduism) — but it wasn’t quite a brilliant film. The “Bollywood” numbers were more like numbers from any old musical, if you ask me, and none of them was as good as the opening number… but I did get a feeling that the film was somewhat of a satirical Trojan horse… marketed as a teen a sex-comedy, it wasn’t deeply critical but there was something running through the whole film that smacked of getting people to look at things despite themselves by making them laugh at the same time.

Not so highly recommended except for that reason.

Oh yeah, and I think the English title is unforgivably bad. I mean, yeah, whatever “Multicellular Girl” means doesn’t come across in English, I know, but… “Dasepo Naughty Girls”? It just goes to show that the marketing stupidity on this film extended into English, as well.

UPDATE: Oh, a couple of other things that hit me when I was thinking this morning about the film — I really enjoyed a couple of other things, one of them being the kyopo reactions to Korean life: the Korean-Swiss adoptee over and over expresses his frustration at things he thinks he’s encountering in Korea, such as racial discrimination or backwardness, and the apparently German-punk adoptee is just hilarious — and there was a beautiful scene where students started deconstructing the, let’s call it “propaganda”, that they were being taught in “Korean Cultural History” class.

The teacher makes up all kinds of things, and the students correct him with the actual historical background, such as the claim that Tae Kwon Do is a wholly indigenous martial art, or that the common people in Korea wore white back in the old days “because they were peace-loving”. That was a brilliant lampooning of the educational system.

And I was so happy to see the teacher pointedly mentioning, in reverent and dramatic tones, that There Are Four Seasons In Korea. Foreigners I’ve known have long speculated that this must be mentioned routinely in school since many students, especially at the lower-end Universities, seem to think asserting it is saying something significant about Korea. (As if having a temperate climate is rare on earth.) I’ve even heard people say things like, “Korea’s four seasons are more distinct that those of other countries,” which, well, may be true. Frankly, I always thought the four seasons were more like six: Chilly Winter, One Week of Spring, Freakin’ Hot Months, Several Months of Oh My God the Humidity is Killing Me and Can It Get Hotter?, A Month of Rain, and Look, The Leaves Died and Here Comes Winter, So Let’s Go to Weolchusan. Or whatever mountain it is that a million people visit that weekend. (Not that I’m complaining about Korea. You should hear me talk about weather in my hometown.)

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