Power of ranting, expressing
While two Korean films did not win at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival, there is a unique allure in the works entered. For Koreans, they are telling reflections of our society and contain themes regularly seen in theaters.
Having heard through the grapevine that one of them, “All About My Wife,” was good enough to invest cash and time in, I did just that.
Talented actors Im Su-jeong and Lee Seon-gyun star in this movie about a married couple that started out with love stardust sprinkled all over them. But seven or eight years into their marriage, the wife becomes increasingly talkative while the husband becomes just plain sick of it all.
The woman he fell in love with, amid the tumble and chaos of a Tokyo earthquake where they both studied as young adults, is no longer the sweet lovely lady who once loved to cook.
Instead, she is now forever ranting, albeit still a good cook. Since he cannot find the courage to propose divorce he forces her out of the house by getting her a job on a radio talk show.
She takes her rants to the airwaves and suddenly finds her voice, as the listeners respond to her as an outlet for all the minor gripes they have. Further facilitating her new found role is a neighborhood Don Juan from next door hired by her husband to seduce her and set him free.
The storyline is about an old-fashioned loving married couple who see their love turn sour only to have it rekindled when one of them finds their true inner voice, accompanied by the silly antics of a seducer. There even seems to be a message that says when someone rants, look beyond it, for their words stem largely from loneliness.
Watching this film, it made me think that maybe more Koreans should rant as a form of positive outlet, be it to a friend, a counselor or one of their peers.
If these options are not available, try expressing yourself not necessarily through words but in other activities. Singing, painting, team sports, learning a new language, taking up dancing or volunteering are all ways to express oneself and communicate.
There is a Korean television program on SBS, one of the major broadcasters, that roughly translates as “Believe it or Not.” It features a broad range of unique characters — a woman fixated on trash, a man obsessed with putting on makeup and another who wears nail polish.
These characters are baffling, even slightly bizarre. But once you dig beneath the surface, the woman with the trash fixation is intent on recycling it to leave a better environment for posterity, the man wearing makeup uses it to cover up his scars and pain and the nail polish was a medium for another man’s art. Watching these episodes one can only be amazed at people’s creativity.
In that vein, author and illustrator Deb Koffman writes in “The Soul Support Book,” “If What You’re Doing Isn’t Working … Do Anything Else.”
Usually, self-help books have urged people “to do something new.” But Koffman’s words are striking for there is creativity, and room to muster up courage about “just anything” that may ultimately lead to “that something.”
Once we feel like we are truly communicating either honestly with ourselves, with others and the wider world, we become one step closer to resolving conflict and friction in our lives.