The Classic Features Expressed in Love-Based Movie
It is known as the virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection. Yet, on the other hand, it is also the starting point of complex emotional concepts such as anger, harshness, impatience, envy, mistakes, revenges, and expectations. On account of various subsets of the theme of love, many movie directors have always had a keen interest in detangling the intangible idea of love and its subordinating emotions throughout their movies. However, it has always been an extremely challenging task to express and deliver the feeling of love through medium.
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Movies provide more than entertainment. Movies are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, therefore they always reflect cultures and history of the region, and in return affect the audience. The author believes that the intertwining features of the movie are to evoke people’s emotions, and get one’s thoughts out to other people and reach them by expressing his views. Unlike stories in literal form, a movie has sound and images, and this makes it easy to get into the story, and at the same time, harder to get distracted. Even though visual basis of ovies gives it a universal power of communication, it is common that the misuse of artistic, theoretical, or technical aspects could lead audience to have substantially different perceptions from the original contemplations of the director. Therefore, directors are very cautious when making romantic films. Romance movies are the love-based movies that are gaining increasing popularities on worldwide scale in current society due to the globalization. Romance movies are normally, in plot-driven presentations, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction.
It is difficult to describe what a romantic movie entails and there is a differential factor between the age groups as well as the time and the setting of the movie. But, romance movies tend to keeps people in suspense and keeps them anticipating for what will happen next. Also, by nature of the movie, romance movies reflect the concept of love which is heavily influence by local culture and history. This paper will mainly focus on similarities and differences of three regions romance movies, namely, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea by analyzing selected romance movies in each region. . Hong Kong Romance Movie – Chungking Express 3. 2. Historical Attributes and Social Identities Implied in the Movie Chungking Express was made in 1994, while Hong Kong was undergoing changes and moving rapidly closer towards the millennium, and the landmark historical moment of handover to China in 1997. Hence, Chungking Express is likely to be categorized in the post-modernist movie of Wong Kar Wai, when Hong Kong seemed to have so many possibilities for the future in both bad and good ways.
At that time, Hong Kong residents fell into dilemma, they were worried that political changes would result in a decrease of freedom, an undesirable change in lifestyle, and a negative effect on the economy, yet at the same time, they were happy to be returned to their motherland. This status of uncertainty made many people immigrated to other countries, but many of them came back shortly after, around 1995, because the economy of Hong Kong was still proved to be strong, and it suddenly seemed that the future would be better than what they had once thought.
They were no longer worrying about the potential harms that might arise after handover but started to have some faith in Hong Kong’s future. In the movie, Cop no. 663 had the same feeling with Faye, he had faith in her, he firmly believed that Faye will remember their date and will come back one day. This is symbolizing people in Hong Kong started to believe that good times were going to knock on their doors after the handover. It is not hard to seek various metaphors in the first part of movie regarding on the history of Hong Kong at that time. The author believes that Brigitte Lin symbolizes China Cop no. 23 represents Hong Kong, and the English bartender obviously is the metaphor of British Force. In the movie, the English bartender convinced Lin to smuggle drugs with some Indians, but they cheat her and run away with the drugs. Hong Kong was initially founded because the British company wanted the lucrative trade of opium with China, and by that time India was already colonized by the Britain. Cop no. 223 counts the number of pineapple cans, as many Hong Kong residents counted the days to July 1, 1997, and the feelings he had on the date May 1 is exactly reflecting the feeling Hong Kong residents had towards the handover.
They want it to come, but at the same they were so afraid to confront with that day. However, deeply in their heart they know the date will eventually come and they have to get ready to have new lives. At the end, Lin shoots the English bartender and throws away her blonde wig. This represents China telling Britain to remove all signs of its country’s influence on Hong Kong. The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration which outlined the handover of Hong Kong, and catalyzed the emergence of new ‘national’ identity and culture in a city-state of Hong Kong.
Cultural identity of Hong Kong was that, although inevitably defined by its closeness to mainland China and its western link as British colony, had not prevented Hong Kong from creating its own culturally specific identity. Chungking Express offers the audience a melting pot of Chinese, Japanese and western culture that is uniquely Hong Kong’s. See, in the movie, Cop no. 223 speaks four languages both in his narrations and when he is socializing, this is emphasis of Hong Kong’s multi-culturalism, international facets. 3. Japanese Romance Movie – Love Letter . 3. Romanticized Nostalgia for the Past After World War II, Japan was able to stand up again from the ashes of nuclear attack like a phoenix, and soon became a prosperous industrial nation, this period of rapid recovering was often called as the “Golden Age” in Japan. However the Golden Age did not last long. In 1989, the death of Emperor Hirohito declared the end of happy and prosperous period of Showa era and announced the beginning of the Heisei period which marked Japan’s prolonged political, as well as the economic and social decline.
This big turning point of Japanese history not only burst the bubble economy and triggered a series of social problems, but also deeply attacked Japanese national confidence and pride. During this period of time, people started to miss the “good old days” of Showa era, and sought a number of methods to heal and cure the wounded confidence and national pride of past Japanese. These kinds of attempts to boost national confidence and pride have often taken the form of memorizing the “Golden Age” they have experienced in the past. Love Letter is a contemporary Japanese love story, about two women who loved the same man.
They wrote letters to each other about the man they both loved, and eventually discovered in the process that the past is not what they thought it was. At the end, one of the women, Hiroko, having realized that she is not her fiance’s true love, decides to move on with her life. Japanese people were happy in the past, but now comparing the present-state of Japan, the past is not what they thought it was, it somehow resulted the tragedy of today’s Japan, and now people have to once again boost up their energy to re-build and strengthen today’s Japan. In a sense, two situations are very resembling under the author’s interpretations.
Also, judging from clues in the movie, two young Itsukis’ (female and male) probably went to high school in the 1970s or 1980s when Japan was at the peak of its success, and we can infer that their teenage years were always blessed with beautiful memories and sweet moments. This blockbuster movie Love Letter was nominated for numerous film awards, and the actors and actresses (mainly actresses) were able to gain great popularities and acknowledgement in Japanese film industry. The city of Otaru, which was the main setting, became the famous tourist spot in Japan.
It is not hard to infer that the movie Love Letter has brought a big impact in Japanese society, thus even today, almost two decades after the movie was firstly publicized, a lot of people still remember this composition. Also, it became the most significant influence on post-1990s Japanese melodrama involves the protagonist’s loss of a loved one. The post-1990s Japanese melodrama involves the protagonist’s loss of a loved one, normally follows such plot: she cannot overcome the trauma until the deceased returns. Furthermore, the deceased usually returns to encourage those living in reality to look to the future.
At the end, the protagonist generally let go of the past to start a new chapter in life. Whether or not out of purpose, a lot of movies after Love Letter dealt with the topic of “death”. Is this selection of the theme of death merely for the purpose to evoke tear? The author does not think so. The author believes that symbolic meaning of “death” is also conveying nostalgia for Japan’s golden age before the bubble economy. Also, symbolic meaning of death shows that Japanese people’s obsession with pure love, and their belief that the death does not meaning the end of love and the beauty of the love. . Korean Romance Movie – The Classic 5. 4. Disclosure of National Traits Formed from Korean History Tracing back to Korean history, since Shilla unified the Korean Peninsula in the year if 668, Korea has been ruled by a single government and has maintained its political independence and cultural and ethnic identity. However, the state of Korea was formed and settled long ago, it had frequently affected by the foreign invasions from Mongols, Manchus, and Japan. In the late 19th century, Korea became the focus of intense competition among imperialist nations such as China, Russia, or Japan.
In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and instituted colonial rule before the National Liberation Movement in 1945, but soon after the return of the land, territorial division occurred and hence formed the current state of South Korea and North Korea. Looking at the history of Korea, from the ancient time, Korea’s geographical placement was always at the risk of being invaded by other nations, and was been under threat from the Japanese military for hundreds of years. This kind of traumatic history of Korea shaped the inter-emotion of “resentment” deep inside of Koreans’ heart and it was delicately displayed in Korean movies.
The sorrow of not being able to control their own destiny constitutes the protagonists’ inescapable and fate, as demonstrated in Kwak Jae-Yong’s movie The Classic. Two loving souls cannot simply peacefully love each other, their relationship was never kept safe and secure. There are always external factors that hinder the loving relationship. In The Classic, Tae-Soo falls in love with Joo-Hee, while Joo-Hee and Joon-Ha were always madly in love. External factors were not simply about the involvement of the third character, there are bigger issues such as marriage of convenience, Vietnam War, and variation of social classes and status.
The hopeless love and the inescapable fate of the characters reflect Koreans’ effort to change history, but the endings showed that nobody can change the past. Yet, the new love in the later generation portrayed the hope of Korean people to rewrite their traumatic history, and reveal the deep wounds in their hearts that cannot be healed easily. Time-manipulation and flashbacks are common narrative patterns in Korean romantic melodrama. Ji-Hye, the daughter by reading her mother’s letters unrevealed the tragic love story of her mother and it was partially told in flashbacks.
Two separated souls can be regarded as an allegory for the tragedy of Korean national division. The director Kwak Jae-Yong intentionally put Ji-Hye and Joo-Hee in a similar love triangle. However, at the end, differentiated from Joo-Hee’s tragic love story, the director gives Ji-Hye a rather happy ending, so that we could have optimistic and positive view on our generation (future). The paralleling love stories of a mother and daughter shows that the past was sad and tragic but the new will serve as a spiritual panacea, and contribute to a vision of peace and blessings and even the national unification.
It serves as a bandage for the wound originating from the inevitable, tragic fate of Joo-Hee and Joon-Ha. This contrasting joyful ending can be perceived as an analogy of a panacea for the historical trauma of the older generations. 5. Compare and Contrast: Similarities and Differences 6. 5. Deep Influence of the History and Culture Chungking Express, Love Letter, and The Classic are three of the most famous romance movies representing Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.
They are selected here because they have one big notable similarity: they portray the various manifestations of love influenced by the local culture and history. The history is taking a huge role in these three movies, but somehow reflected in different ways. A scene from Chungking Express, the Cop no. 633’s dialogues with objects in the house transcend the daily routine of normal people, and the narration of Cop no. 233 shows the emptiness and the loneliness of people in Hong Kong with the new cultural feature of Hong Kong which is “space of disappearance”. Also at the end, Cop no. 33 quit the job as British policeman and decided to settle down and run a local corner-shop shows that Hong Kong is finally out of British control and now be able to enjoy life as Hong Kong people with Hong Kong’s unique identity. Love Letter, on the other hand is less political, but more emotional, touching movie that seems to reflect Japanese citizens’ nostalgia towards good old days because the change in era caused so much negative effect in Japanese society. The Classic manifested people life in 1950s and showed how one’s fate could be so twisted that it could never possibly be recovered, just like Korean history.
In Chungking Express and Love Letter, directors tend to express the present happening (which became the history in our point of view) historical incidents and citizens’ mind influenced under this system. However, in The Classic, it described the characteristic of Koreans which is formed gradually over time, in other words, the accumulated emotions due to the unstable historical background. The Artistic effects directors have used to approach the audience is also worth noticing, In Chungking Express, the directors used the handheld camerawork so that the audience can feel the chaotic atmosphere of the environment.
And the seemingly disjointed stories incorporated with such camera work, it explained what is “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The insertion of the background music is a great effect in the movie, “California Dreaming” associated with this story, it compose a much sadder emotion. Faye desperately wants to fall in love, she wants to be close to Cop no. 633, even it means rummaging through his stuff. At the end, when Cop no. 633 noticed everything, she instead of yearning for his love decided to leave.
The heavy reliance in music to convey emotions can also be found in The Classic and Love Letter. In The Classic, the romantic scene of Sang-Min and Ji-Hye running through the rain under Sang-Min’s coat was accompanied with guitar-based folk music which as a result composed remarkable moment. In Love Letter, the slow classic music with the white snow background, made HatsuKoii (first love) purer and more tear-jerking than ever. These effects are sufficiently strong to make viewer associate and remind the beautiful scene of the movie immediately after listening to these background music. . Conclusion Famous screenwriter Anthony Burgesss once said, “It is funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen. ” Though romantic type of movie’s main purpose is to deliver the strength of love, which is powerful enough to turn frowns to smiles and occasionally similes to frowns, however, audience have to always bear in mind that a movie is cultivated by various political, economic, social and cultural forces in a society, and hence, it is an extremely important medium which portrays social norms and values.