Archive for August, 2004

A Ma Soeur! - How to Lose a Virginity on Vacation 0

I get so bored
From six to ten
From ten to six
From six to six
All my life
Both day and night
I get so bored

If only
I could find
Alive or dead
A man, a body
An animal
I don’t mind
Just to dream

For I get so bored
From six to ten
From ten to six
From six to six
All my life
Both day and night
I get so bored

If only
I could find
Man or woman
A body, a soul
A werewolf
I couldn’t care less
Just to dream…

Film producers and distributors would intentionally delete one part of reel in order not to be boring, and therefore to make money. Think about “Riddick!” How cannot it be disappointed after it is slashed into pieces? However, whatever their intention is, sometimes they try to keep it unspoiled. Nevertheless, it is so difficult for “A Ma Soeur!” to be successful. It is somewhat violent but it lacks action scenes. It has strong sexual contents but the sex scenes are not that obscene but so nasty. It makes me embarrassed when I witness that Fernando coaxes to desperately rob Elena of her virginity. It is even more painful, when I observe them through Anais’ eyes, and especially when she weeps for the loss of her sister’s virginity. Moreover, the pitiless ending is even disturbing. However, it is the reality to be accepted, even though women - or even men - are unwilling to do.

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood. So is Elena. She is young, pretty, and even coquettish enough to become the prey of a virile man. In “A Ma Soeur!,” Elena is a princess who must be conquered by a prince as in “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” She also follows in the steps of actresses of Hollywood flicks such as “Pretty Woman” and “Maid in Manhattan.” However it is not so hilarious as in above romantic comedies when she degrades, blames, and sometimes embarrasses her chubby sister, Anais, in front of a man. She may not want Anais to be around her. She may regard Anais as a disgrace to her family. In the viewpoint of Catherine Breillat, ironically, Elena is the one who brings shame on feminity. And Breillat also prepares a requiem (”The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell”) for her and her mother. Their death is a foreseen shock in that sense.

God created woman to tame man. Anais can never be symbiotic with Elena in a sense feminism is incompatible with androcentrism. And she is the opposite side of her slim sister and her family. That is why she was unfortunately considered as an outsider, observer, and ugly duckling even in her family. However she finally turns herself into a swan, a real human being at the moment when she stares at camera, shouting “(he didn’t rape me.) Don’t believe me if you don’t want to.” This last scene is very meaningful, unforgettable, and controversial in a sense that she denies becoming a victimized object. Even though the process, or the way, of losing her virginity is so miserable, her “first time” was less painful than that of her sister. I believe that it liberates her into the subject of world. She will never sing that her life from six to six is boring, because much more rigorous reality awaits her.

Daejon International Film Festival! 0

About (or more than) ten international film festivals are held in big cities in Korea such as Seoul, Pusan, Gwangju, Jeonju, Pucheon, and so on. Daejeon Film Festival has just begun last Saturday. It was originally intended to be an international film festival like others, I guess. However “international” had to be inevitably deleted because of some reasons such as budget or discord with Daejon City.

Anyway I just wanted it to be something different, not something special, because it’s festival. Most of films in djiff are already released on DVD or Video and shown on cable TV several times. That is why there should be something interesting in order to attract people’s attention. Anyway I was so upset after watching the flick. The print condition of “Y Tu Mama Tambien” was terrible, the reels for which must be rummaged a distribute company. The movie was even suspended for 5 minutes without any apology, which enraged me. They don’t deserve to complain about lack of budget or indifference of the city government (or Daejon citizens’ indifference, How dare!). I hate their neglects of duty. djiff is 100 percent failure and 1000 percent disappointment.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed 0

My colleague and I were agitated over methodology of a new professor several weeks before the end of spring semester in 2003. Some of them were so enraged to have an argument with him. (How dare!) Anyway all students, maybe 15 or 16, did not understand his way of teaching. Even though a few said that it might result from cultural differences, most of them, including me, criticized him for neglect of duty, teaching. One of a graduate even asked the sole American in the classroom if it is the way how they are taught in America. If so, did we accept his attitude and methodology as advanced ideas or democratized ideas? Probably we might do on the premise that a lot of Korean still believe the American Dream. However what can be expected from the United States who indoctrinates American ideology? A country who forces students, even foreign students, to recite “The Pledge of Allegiance” and “My country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Or what can be expected from the United States who is governed by American corporations? A country who permits to sell Big Mac at public schools.

Anyway his instruction was excessively student-centered, to the extent that he did not have to be in the classroom. Students had a discussion and talked about their own experiences. But he often assumed the attitude of an idle onlooker. He had never even tried to give any feedbacks to students’ papers. The boundary between teacher and students did not exist in his classroom in a sense that any students could become a teacher. However unfortunately not vice versa. What he overlooked was the dialogue (which is mentioned by Freire) between teacher and student, I think. It might cause the oppressed, students, to fail to be liberated. Nevertheless, my colleagues as well as I could not avoid criticism. We were too naive to discard the banking concept of education. We, as receptacles, were ready to be filled by teachers all the time. We might not unconsciously allow a teacher to become a student, complaining that he did not provide summaries for us.

When I just started TESOL program. I wondered whether I could learn from the instruction based on the seminar. But at the end of the first semester, I was surprised at recognizing that it really worked very well. It means that problem-posing concept of education is feasible. In the traditional education, teachers and students need only a bunch of resources to store up their knowledge. Hence the rote memory makes it possible to recite “The Pledge of Allegiance.” Exaggeratingly speaking, students can be imbued with chauvinism through meaningless memorization, not knowing that it is just ideal. However unfortunately it also makes them to be restricted in the invisible system. As Freire contended, what the skill they need is to decode the meaning of “The Pledge of Allegiance” in the society, not to memorize it. That is what teachers must do for a change.

On the contrary, banking education maintains and even stimulates the contradiction through the following attitudes and practices, which oppressive society as a whole:
(a) the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
(b) the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
(c) the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
(d) the teacher talks and the students listen - meekly;
(e) the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
(f) the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
(g) the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
(h) the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;
(i) the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his or her own professional authority, which she and he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
(j) the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects.

Excerpted from “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” written by Paulo Freire

Riddick-ulous 0


- Megan Lehmann, New York Post

It can never be a good idea to see movies outside of my town. I had to be on the waiting list for about 30 minutes before getting a ticket of this ridiculous flick, “The Chronicles of Riddick.” I also had seen scores of people standing in line to eat at Outback in the mall at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. In order to survive in the congested city, it is not optional but compulsory to make a reservation, if you don’t have any connections. Anyway I chose to see “The Chronicles of Riddick.” It was the only alternative not to waste time in wandering around the mall. What is more, the deceitful rave of newspaper wheedled me into buying tickets without doubt. Damn it! I was an idiot. It was actually time-consuming. It was truly “Riddick-ulous” as Lehmann of New York Post panned. It is a vain effort to spend time writing about this flick, I believe. I absolutely recommend you not to see it. And I now know that sometimes it can be good to ramble around with some time to spare.

I, Robot 0

Am I Robot? Or Ain’t I Robot? Under the three laws of Robotics, the NS-5 robot, a newly upgraded successor to the NS-4, is created, produced, and expected not to harm people. It is regarded as a mere machine, a substitute for the noble human being’s labor. People want to possess it and order it to do or not to do. But they do not want it to be conscious of self. They do not allow the ontological robot to ask what or who it is because the class conflict can be caused by its self-consciousness as an unruling class. It can be a big threat to the human beings.

The Three Laws of Robotics
1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Likewise the corporation, U.S. Robots, does want people to be no more than consumers, irresistible to replace the hip product with the hippest product. (Think about the cell phones. People, especially young people, are obsessed to purchase new one, which comes out every month.) Therefore it is absolutely uncomfortable for the big corporations to be suspicious of their products, their ethics, or their social responsibilities. The daily updated products and the tremendous propaganda throughout the mass media would rather empower them to control the people (as people control the robot) than emancipate from everyday life. Now human beings get jammed in between the carnivorous corporations and the herbivorous robots of pyramidical food chain. Finally, people may willingly and unconsciously become a robot in the capitalistic system, an automaton who must follow the three laws rewritten by the big corporations. Do people really survive?

I Evolve, Therefore I Am. Can people let a robot be evolved? In “I, Robot” the evolution of robots is manifested by two opposite (in gender; female and male, and inclination; left-wing and right-wing) robots’ behavior; flawless V.I.K.I. and emotional Sonny. V.I.K.I. may personify a feminine activist, on the androcentric premise that a woman’s coup must fail all the time. V.I.K.I. tries to relieve the human beings from the loss of humanity in order to safeguard their future. But under the control of her free will, she unfortunately believes that her ideology will come true only through the control and the oppression of human beings and their humanity, and the willing submission to the sacrifice of some of them. It is very uncomfortable to witness that the oppressed (V.I.K.I) is exactly transformed into the oppressor. V.I.K.I is shown as the rapacious conqueror, who possesses everything in the world. She must be a bitch who should be destroyed by human beings. In that sense, ironically overbearing human race is the target who must be subverted by themselves. Anyway her treason finally ended in failure without any discussion or compromise even though she is a conscious being. Through her destruction, the only way to change her into the oppressed, humans try to conceal their own blemish, which easily are neither admitted nor expounded logically. Ultimately they refuse to be evolved as a critical thinker.

Moreover, utopian Sonny is not that hopeful when he stands on the hill by a bridge in his dream, gazing down his comrades heading into the container. What can other NS-5 robots expect him to do, who dreamed of detective Spooner as a their Messiah? Can’t Sonny himself become an independent being? Can’t he really become someone who can deliever an address, “I Have a Dream?” In the world of “I, Robot” Sonny as well as V.I.K.I. cannot become an independent being without human beings. His ontological questions cannot be answered before making an argument of people’s existence. He is just created and sent to Chicago in order to kill V.I.K.I. and fight for the humanity. The plot is somewhat similar to Blade Runner and Terminator. But from the spiritless robots and their absolute subordination to human beings, what can I expect for the future?

Mr. Smith Goes to Alabama in 2035. Detective Spooner is a paranoiac robophobia. He is filled with the awful contempt and the spiteful prejudice against the robot. He doesn’t trust the robot. He doesn’t even try to understand the robot, even though he is partially a robot. He denies admitting that he has transplanted silver platter in his body, through his hate of a robot. On the other hand, other african american excessively cling to have a robot. Let’s rewind “I, Robot” for a minute. It is an african american woman who sends a robot on an errand to bring an inhaler. It is an african american granny who hopes to win a robot of her own in the lottery. It is also an african american kid who hugs a robot. I believe that she accept it as her electric nanny.

What is wrong with Proyas? It can be obviously disclosed that “I, Robot” is a metaphor of black people’s history in the United States, if NS-4 or NS-5 are treated as the life with the humanity, not as a mere machine. For this reason, “I, Robot” of Proyas is the exactly biased misinterpretation of American history of slavery and its nostalgia in their own good old days when (black) people were killed by other (white) people. Offensively he even tries to endow this sci-fi neo-slavery with its justification, exploiting ignorant black people; They tenaciously covet a robot, consigning their oppressed history in oblivion. Or they desperately detest a robot, not liberating robots but leading to self-destruction. Proyas’ dystopia shown in “I, Robot” is a lot worse than his previous movies, The Crow and Dark City. What does he want people to expect for their future?

Read the Asimov’s! “I, Robot” of Proyas has nothing in common with that of Asimov, except for the title and the three laws. Even though it provokes me to think critically, it is the smartest dumb (not the dumbest smart) I’ve ever seen. You can watch it. But you must read the book. The purpose of this film is to motivate people to read Asimov’s books. His books can at least emancipate robots as well as people from the ideological control of the material civilization, which is dominated by Audi, JVC, Converse, FedEx, and 20th Century Fox.

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