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Paradigm Shift

 
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majou
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject: Paradigm Shift Reply with quote

For me, it is interesting to read about what the director has envisioned for the film and what he intended to express and etc. However, I just watch the movie as how I see it.

I think there are bits and pieces of all of us in all the characters in the film. And, despite the director's intention, I think the movie has taken on a new life of its own. And everyone sees it from his/her own angle and has a different takeaway from the movie.

Jang-saeng is the lead. According to some of the interviews with the director, I understand that he is supposedly the unconventional underdog hero that challenges the cruel caste system and the harsh reality. So, he represents the underlings of the world, like many of us.

However, after seeing the movie at least 20 times, I never changed my view. I think Jang-saeng's character may think he is unconventional and is doing so much to break the rules by mocking the King and etc., but in reality, he is the one that is living within the confines of the rules of society.

From the very beginning, when he attempted to escape with Gong-gil and was stopped, he did not dare to initiate any attack to challenge their Troupe master. Instead of forcing his way to escape, he actually begged him to let them leave.....he then became forceful out of reaction. But, Gong-gil is the one that killed the guy in the heat of the moment without thinking.

Thinking back, it is obvious that pimping Gong-gil must be a routine task of the Troupe master. Jang-saeng might have made numerous attempts to stop the pimping in the past, but obviously all failed.

Then, when it comes to their "love," Jang-seng may have feelings for Gong-gil, but you can tell that from his reaction to the street fortune-teller, he has no intention to even think or imagine any possibility between him and Gong-gil's relationship. Because he has to emphasize that they are not a married couple.

Then, all his subsequent behaviors through out the movie just repeated this pattern. I will not cite each one of them out. But, I think, even at the very end, if he is not encouraged by Gong-gil's subtle underlying proclamation of love, he may not choose the end as he did.

I have come to one conclusion, any thought of "paradigm shift" is beyond Jang-seng, and even the definition is beyond his comprehension.

On the other hand, I really think Gong-gil appears to be weak, but has the flexibility and the intelligence to think "outside of the box" and actually act them out. I think Gong-gil represents both the weakest and the strongest parts of all of us. So, it is much easier for the viewers to identify with Gong-gil in many ways without realizing it.

I've actually coerced/forced all my friends to watch the movie. And, if anyone complained to me about life, I would just give them nick names like "Gong-gil #1", "Gong-gil#2", and etc...

Because I think most of the people I know (including myself) do not like to make decision then be 100% responsible for our decisions.

Many times that we just want others to make decision for us, but then, when things don't go well, then we just blame things on fate and/or others.

And, of course it is much easier if we just stay within the guideline of the system, so we are only doing what we are told, and if we failed, we are not the one to be blamed, but it is the system or the people who gave us bad advices that caused our bad decisions.

On the other hand, again, like Gong-gil, under extreme situations, we react with our hidden courage and do stand up for our rights. He is the one that dares to really rebel against the caste system and truly break the rules and not Jang-saeng.

So, when I encourage my friends (all the Gong-gil#1 to #???), I asked them to remember how the weakling Gong-gil dares to stand up to express his discontent of the weak king, his love for Jang-saeng and his wish for freedom & etc. at the end. So, if the weak Gong-gil can do so, so can they.

I've heard many discussions analyzing if it is the beauty of Lee Jun Ki that makes Gong-gil's character mesmerizing, charismatic and memorable. I said "NO". Lee Jun Ki really injected life into Gong-gil's character. He made many viewers love, fear and sigh with Gong-gil through out the movie. It is not just his "beauty", but it is his "soul" that made the character Gong-gil comes "alive."


Last edited by majou on Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dunnbother
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi majou, Very Happy

thanks for sharing...

yup, i agree that "everyone sees it from his/her own angle and has a different takeaway from the movie".
after all these characters are fictional and any interpretation is really up to individual liking. for me, i'll try to see what the director is trying to tell us about the story through his actors' body language and the colours that he used throughout the movie.

for instance, many had debated about the relationship, whether sexual or platonic, between jang saeng and gong gil. i try to see it the way the director wants us to.
the director had mentioned about the yin and yang in the relationship of jang saeng and gong gil, so here he is really telling us without actually having to put them into words that jang saeng and gong gil did have a sexual relationship. yin and yang would imply that there's a male and a female in a union. so in the eyes of the director, gong gil is not a "brother" or a "son" to jang saeng, but a "female". and for this reason, at the very beginning, i could only think of gong gil as a "she", even consciously knowing that "she" was actually a male. plus what the fortune teller had said that the 3 goddesses of birth had put balls on the wrong person actually made me think that gong gil was really a female that was trapped in the body of a male. the director is really a smart guy to infuse doubts and muddle up the gender of gong gil, whether done intentionally or not, so that the question of the same sex relationship is not obvious.

about the colours…the most obvious one was the green that gong gil wore on day of the hunt. when i saw that ugly green on gong gil, i kept asking why green? What's the director trying to tell us when he put that green on gong gil? then somehow i realised..…the director wanted us to know that the king wants to make gong gil his next concubine replacing noksu. the colour green has always been associated with noksu, whose name really means green water and during those satirical plays mocking noksu, gong gil would have the word "green" patched on his bum. putting green on gong gil on the day of the hunt convinced me think the king was going to make gong gil his next concubine. besides that, when he conferred the rank of a minister upon gong gil, we could tell he was preparing to have gong gil to assimilate into the royal household. without a rank, gong gil will always be considered as a gutter rat or an outsider.

majou, you wrote "Then, when it comes to their "love," Jang-seng may have feelings for Gong-gil, but you can tell that from his reaction to the street fortune-teller, he has no intention to even think or imagine any possibility between him and Gong-gil's relationship. Because he has to emphasize that they are not a married couple. "

here you seem to imply that jang seng may not have loved gong gil that much at the beginning. that's really sadden me for i thought that jang seng had always loved gong gil and very much so even since those early days when they were servants. and after gong gil had stolen the ring, it was jang seng who initiated the idea of them running away and be together. my opinion is that jang saeng had loved gong gil all along and he knows it and gong gil knows it.

for jang saeng to emphasize that they are not a married couple would simply mean "no, we don’t have to break up because we are not married". to break up a marriage, a divorce is needed. and since they are not married, they don't have to break up (or divorce). anyway there's no way jang saeng could ever let go of gong gil.

you may think gong gil is a weakling and there are others who would also think of gong gil as passive and even submissive. i think otherwise. i think gong gil is simply being docile and of a gentle nature. gong gil is also a survivor who understands his own position in life. when he was being pimped off and though he may hate it but he still does what is required of him so as to survive and stay with the group. during those ancient days, being alone and wandering on one's own can be dangerous and this is also the reason why when jang saeng barged in when he was with the fat patron saying that they were to leave, gong gil's initial reaction was instant and direct with his refusal to leave. to leave would mean on the run again and live as wanderers. this single incident at the beginning of the movie between the exchanges of these two persons sheds a great deal of information on the true nature of their relationship. on the surface, it may seem that gong gil is the passive one.... but he has the gumption to say no to jang saeng. and that resulted in jang saeng having to accomodate to gong gil's behaviour and ended up sticking by him and even willing to die with him. in jang saeng's words "lets die together". it's really gong gil who dictates how jang saeng should behave.

next, i shall write about all the faults and mistakes of jang saeng and how he foolishly had put himself into unnecessary trouble and while doing so, not only he had hurt himself but also the one he loved most. and i know homura may not like that…oh well. Wink lol. Cool

btw, i believe gong gil has no faults at all. and i challenge anyone to come up with one to convince me otherwise. Wink

i shall cont. tomorrow.
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Alucard
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...attacks from all sides...

Don't worry Jang-saeng...I will defend for you...after I see what Dunnbother has to say... Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Alucard
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunnbother wrote:
the director had mentioned about the yin and yang in the relationship of jang saeng and gong gil, so here he is really telling us without actually having to put them into words that jang saeng and gong gil did have a sexual relationship. yin and yang would imply that there's a male and a female in a union.


Hi dunnbother,

I think the sexual relationship (Shocked) is very very ambiguous. You can take it either way - Yes or No. I think the mention of yin and yang is basically just to imply that Jang-saeng sees Gong-gil more as a female than as a male.

BTW, if there is a sexual relationship, the director would not have hinted that their play-acts were so bawdy because they were so thirst and repressed for each other in "reality". Wink Wink Laughing Wink


Last edited by Alucard on Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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majou
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunnbother wrote:
Very Happy

btw, i believe gong gil has no faults at all. and i challenge anyone to come up with one to convince me otherwise. Wink


Oh, don't worry about me challenging you. I will be standing right next to you, defending this statement with you. Laughing

I definitely agree with dunnbother's statement on Gong-gil being docile and of a gentle nature, and is a natural survivor.

I never said Gong-gil is a weakling; I just said he "appeared to be weak." I actually think he has more stamina than anyone else in the movie. He is willing to do whatever it takes to survive. From performing to prostituting to killing, the first fifteen minutes of the movie already told us that he is a survivor. Even his suicidal attempt is an act of expressing his sorrow and defiance, and should not be seen as a weak attempt to escape reality.
*** (Of course I discourage any type of such action by anyone). Evil or Very Mad

Also, I think through out the entire movie, the only person that dares to openly mock the King (in front of the King) at his own will is Gong-gil. At the final rope scene, he said pointedly that he always wanted to see the King that ruined the world and so many people’s lives and etc. We must note that he was not forced by anyone or even taught by anyone to make that statement. That statement came directly from within.

As for Jang-saeng's love for Gong-gil, well, I did not doubt his love for Gong-gil. Gong-gil is not stupid. Of course he will not fall for Jang-saeng if he did not feel Jang-saeng's love. (See, I see everything from Gong-gil's angle).

But, I pointed it out to show that even with his deep feeling for Gong-gil, he is afraid to even contemplate that possibility. Because he feels that he must conform to the rules of the society, Jang-saeng is a true conformist.

I personally take the stand that there is no sexual relationship between Gong-gil and Jang-saeng. And, it is not because I want their relationship to be pure or platonic. As Gong-gil's fan, of course I want him to enjoy great sex with his lover whenever he can take a break from all the pimping activities. Razz

But, I just don't see any sexual relationship between them. And we need to blame it on Jang-Saeng's refusal to "come out". I think through out the movie, as a true conformist, he is in a constant state of "denial" of his feeling/love/lust for Gong-gil. It takes all the dramas from the entire movie to force out his love confession at the very end of the movie.

I've talked to my gay friends, and they all see Gong-gil as a "girl" and considered him to be the "female" lead of the movie. But, they've all voted that there is no sexual relationship between Gong-gil and Jang-saeng. Their logic is simple. If Jang-saeng and Gong-gil are truly sleeping with each other, then their relationship will not have such high level of tension with an overabundance of emotions.

It is not that I truly dislike Jang-saeng, but I often thought, if he had been a true hero that is brave and smart enough to challenge and break the rules of society, then things would've been very different for them. If nothing else, at least they'll be able to love each other and enjoy good sex. Laughing
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dunnbother
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi alucard Very Happy and majou Very Happy

majou wrote : " If Jang-saeng and Gong-gil are truly sleeping with each other, then their relationship will not have such high level of tension with an overabundance of emotions."

rather the opposite is true. if their relationship is a platonic one, then there shouldn't be "such a high level of tension with an overabundance of emotions."

if their relationship is not sexual, jang saeng wouldn't be having all those passionate outbursts against the pimp and the king. these outbursts stamped mainly from his jealousy and possessiveness. note that he only had these outbursts when gong gil was with another guy. and for him to depict the king's penis as a one-eyed snake shows that he considered the king as a sexual rival.

i am no purist so what i see and believe in goes by my basic instincts. i see a lover who is deeply in love with his partner and common sense tells me that it's natural for them to do what lovers would do to each other. as the saying goes, a man is a hunter when it comes to love, he would capture and own his prey. ask any man, say that if he is in love with a beautiful woman and they were put together in a room, sleep together on the same mat, not just for a night but all the time and his love for her had never diminished, what is the one thing that he would likely do to express his love?
i bet all the answers you'll get will the same one unless some guy says something different and you can bet that guy is either impotent or something.

that playful tussle that they had in their room when jang saeng said "a hundred spankings for you when you hit your husband" is another reason why I believe that their relationship is sexual. it may be sexual but it's done out of genuine love and affection for each other, not out of lust or for sexual releases. anyway, this is also one of my favourite segments of the movie where they were shown being happy and playful and laughing together.

i know there are people who are uncomfortable with the idea of them having sex. and i can’t say i understand the reason why. could it be because they are of the same gender? is it really such a taboo subject that people would willingly turn a blind eye to the reality that gays are ordinary people too with basic human needs?
i have no gay friends and i wouldn't know what gays are like in real life. but if all gays are like jang saeng and gong gil, then i am in love with gays, lol.


majou wrote: "Even his suicidal attempt is an act of expressing his sorrow and defiance, and should not be seen as a weak attempt to escape reality."

on this topic, i have came across opinions like gong gil attempted suicide because he was guilty for having caused jang saeng to suffer on his behalf. i can’t buy that. why should gong gil feel guilty at all? what the king did to jang saeng was beyond gong gil's control.

the way i see it….gong gil's attempted suicide was simply an act that echoed jang saeng's speech earlier to the jail guard. when jang saeng was relating to the jail guard "all my life i played at being blind, now that i'm really blind i'll never get to play it again and i was getting good get at it too". that was the english subtitles but according to the chinese version, jang saeng said something more, like "now that i'm getting good at it and it's a pity that i am going to die soon and will never get to play it again". i don’t know what the korean version is like. maybe someone who knows korean should elaborate on this and i'll be eternally grateful.

jang saeng spoke of death. and when gong gil was relating to the king about his binding friendship with jang saeng through those puppets, gong gil repeated words for words what jang saeng had said earlier, about being blind and echoing every word. so in a way, i guess gong gil's attempted suicide echoed jang saeng's talk of death.

in this world, i believe there are lovers who can be so deeply in love, that their very existence mirrored each other, whether emotionally or mentally, and they can be so into each other that there is a possibility that they try to live and act like their loved ones. the first time when i saw K&C, the story Wuthering Heights came floating into my mind. i didn’t know why it was then. there was a time i kept analysing and comparing these two stories to look for similarities and now i guess i have it.... that lovers could mirror each other. in Wuthering Heights, cathy who was in love with heathcliff , said to her servant nelly "i am heathcliff" to let nelly know just how much she loved him.

so in gong gil's case, i guess it's something similar. not only to die together with jang saeng but his love for jang saeng mirrored jang saeng's words and behaviour.
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dunnbother
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi alucard, Very Happy

about those faults and mistakes of jang saeng, i'll leave it til another time.
now don't get me wrong, i love jang saeng. Wink but i can't help thinking if only jang saeng had done things differently, he and gong gil will be the happiest couple alive.
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majou
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunnbother wrote:


majou wrote : " If Jang-saeng and Gong-gil are truly sleeping with each other, then their relationship will not have such high level of tension with an overabundance of emotions."

rather the opposite is true. if their relationship is a platonic one, then there shouldn't be "such a high level of tension with an overabundance of emotions."



Oh, I never meant to imply that their relationship is a "platonic relationship" at all! Plato and his wife will definitely vote "NO" on the application of the word "platonic" to Gong-gil and Jang-saeng's relationship.

What I meant to say is that I sense a strong sexual tension and physical attraction between two sexually deprived lovers when I watched the movie. That is why I feel sad that Gong-gil never had a chance to enjoy a good time with his true love.
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dunnbother
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi majou Very Happy

hmmm… i see you can be as ambiguous as the director joonik. lol

i think i know what you mean. in the movie, the one we see having all the good time is the king. but i wish you could elaborate more on why you see them as sexually deprived lovers.
i mean gong gil could never say no to jang saeng and jang saeng could never say no to gong gil so how could they have deprived each other of anything. but i am very interested to know more about your viewpoint, please do share.
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majou
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunnbother wrote:
hi majou Very Happy

hmmm… i see you can be as ambiguous as the director joonik. lol

i think i know what you mean. in the movie, the one we see having all the good time is the king. but i wish you could elaborate more on why you see them as sexually deprived lovers.
i mean gong gil could never say no to jang saeng and jang saeng could never say no to gong gil so how could they have deprived each other of anything. but i am very interested to know more about your viewpoint, please do share.


Well, let me try to be less ambiguous.

My biggest criticism against Jang-saeng is the fact that he is constantly saying "no" to himself. He may appear to be playful at times, but his willingness to sacrifice his life for Gong-gil is a good indication of his feeling for him. However, he kept reinforcing that "totally unconvincing 'no'" through out the movie.....that is why I said they are sexually deprived lovers.
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