From left to right: Nobody Knows, Welcome To Dongmakgol, Castaway to the Moon, The Boy in Striped Pajamas and In The Mood For Love.

Block tests are over! So I decided to watch a couple of movies. That’s averaging to 1 movie per day. Whoo.

1) Nobody Knows

A heartbreaking story about 4 children living in an Tokyo apartment who were abandoned by their mother, who presumably went to live with her boyfriend. Each child had different fathers. On the morning their mother leaves, she leaves a note along with some money to the oldest child, Akira, to take care of his siblings. Towards the end as their funds starts to dwindle, they depend on the kindness of a convenience store assistant that Akira frequents to give them sushi, as well as a high school girl they met. This was based on a real event in 1988.

This movie is not a sad weepy story about the plight of the children, but rather documents how the children spend the long days. Despite the absence of their mother, the children are not portrayed as pitiful children left with nothing. Akira plays Big Brother well, is responsible and tries to get as much nutritious food for his siblings. In one part, Akira comes home to find Shigeru (the 3rd child) eating bits paper. So despite trying to save money for the past few days, he uses the little money they have left to buy instant noodles for him. He also tries to get some money from his mother’s past boyfriends. The director also shows Akira’s yearning to go to school,and to play baseball in a team, with segments of him asking his mother when they would be able to go to school, parts where he plays baseball by himself with a ball he found, and even a part when he gets to play in a baseball team when the coach is short of a player and spots him watching them.  Kyoko, the second oldest girl, also wishes to learn the piano, saving money to buy a piano, and playing wistfully on the toy piano they have. The movie was filmed over a year, such that details like the children’s hair growing longer, the cool weather changing to warmer seasons were shown. I felt that ending wasn’t very definite. It was left hanging in the air while I was wondering what goes on after? Do they continue living like that? Does their mother come home? I didn’t quite feel satisfied with the ambiguous ending.

I decided that attempting to finish all 5 movies will make my head explode. The below is the following 2 movie summaries.

2) Welcome to Dongmakgol Set in 1950 during the Korean War, 5 soldiers and a pilot (2 South Korean, 3 North Korean, 1 American) end up in a village in the mountains unaware of the outside world. I like how that the beginning is rather comical and funny, which engages the audience but becomes more serious towards the end. The ending was rather touching, showing how the 6 enemies who eventually became friends had to die to save the village.

3) Castaway to the Moon An original story that parallels two outcasts. This may remind you of Tom Hanks’s Castaway. However unlike Tom Hanks, the lead man Kim becomes contented with living on the isolated island in the middle of the Han River, even running away from tourists when boats come by to prevent himself from being spotted. The other protagonist, Miss Kim, is a girl who has never left her room in years. Eventually with her Sony camera telescope, she spots Kim in the island. They end up communicating with each other with her throwing message bottles towards the island, and Kim replying with large writings in the sand. As the girl observes Kim, eventually she is drawn out of her shell, even starting talking to her mother to request for corn (previously she communicated by text messages). The movie shows two people, one who is physically “out-casted” while the other is physiologically out-casted. Miss Kim imposes these restrictions to herself while Mr Kim is forced to be stranded on the island after a failed suicide attempt.

As for The Boy in Striped Pajamas and In the Mood For Love, it’s up to you to watch. You could borrow the DVD for The Boy In Striped Pajamas from me if you like. It’s sad :/In the Mood for Love has many reviews around, so you could look them up. It’s slow at some parts.


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