Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam

This entry is part [part not set] of 34 in the series 20080424_Issue


Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam,


National Folklore Support Centre

Jointly present



6.00 P.M.: The Classic

Kwak Jae- young / 2003 / Col / 130 Min


6.00 P.M.: An Affair

Je-Young Lee / 1998 / Col / 105 Min

The Classic

The movie starts in the present day. The daughter, Ji-Hae (Son Ye Jin), is

cleaning up around her house when she comes across a box full of old letters that

detail the story of her mother, Joo-Hee (who is also played by Son Ye Jin, in a dramatic

tour de force). Periodically in the movie, Ji-Hae reads one of those letters, which

starts a flashback scene in which the story of the mother is told. These flashbacks

are intertwined with Ji-Hae’s own story, in which she falls for a fellow student involved

in the school theater. The movie details both relationships. The mother, Joo-Hee, visits the

Countryside as a student one summer and meets Joon-Ha (Jo Seung-woo). Together

they explore the countryside, playing near a river which they both will always remember

as their special place. When a storm starts, and they take shelter together under a

tree, but not before Joo-Hee twists her ankle and is rendered helpless. Joon-Ha takes

her on his back and they run home, only to be confronted by her parents. Before they separate,

Joo-Hee gives him a necklace, which he keeps close as a precious

reminder of their time together. Unfortunately, as often happens in affairs of the heart, a third party prevents any deepening of their relationship. Joo-Hee has been promised by her parents as a

bride to Tae-Soo, Joon-Ha’s friend. But Tae-Soo, a noble friend, finds out about Joo-

Hee and Joon-Ha’s attraction and helps the two communicate secretly by using his

own name in place of Joon-Ha’s in their letters. When Tae-Soo’s father finds this out,

however, he beats Tae-Soo. Tae-Soo tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide so that

his two friends can be together. Meanwhile, in the present, Ji-Hae falls for her friend’s love interest,

but he seems not to notice. Then, in a sweet scene, they take shelter from the rain together

under the same tree. He uses his coat to cover both of them and escorts her to

where she needs to go. The moment, while magical, does not go anywhere as she

feels his help was only due to his generous nature and not from any feelings for her

on his part. Back in the past, Joon-Ha is guilt-ridden over his friend’s attempted suicide

and Joo-Hee’s own guilt. Determined to prevent any more hurt to her, Joon-Ha joins

the army and goes to Vietnam. There he loses his eyesight while saving a fellow

soldier. When he returns to Korea, he meets with Joo-Hee, trying to hide his blindness,

and convinces her he has married in hopes she will move on with her life. Though

heart broken that their relationship cannot continue, she does move on and eventually

marries Tae-Soo, Joon-Ha’s kind friend. After they have been married for several

years and have a young daughter, Ji-Hae, Joo-Hee is approached by friends of Joon-

Ha, who relate Joon-Ha’s last wish: that his ashes be scattered by Joo-Hee in the

river, now reservoir, where they first met. She then finds out that Joon-Ha only got

married after she had a son her daughter’s age. The heart-break is too much;

she cries. In the present, Ji-Hae’s own story unfolds. Her love interest reveals his true

feelings for Ji-Hae, feelings that mirror her own. It is also revealed that their taking

shelter together during the storm was no accident; he purposely left his umbrella

behind so that he could join her under the tree. Then, when Ji-Hae pensively reveals

her mother’s story to him, tears stream down his face. He wordlessly lifts a necklace

from around his neck and places it around hers. It is the necklace that Ji-Hae’s

mother, Joo-Hee, had given to Joon-Ha when they met. The circle is completed; Joo-

Hee’s daughter and Joon-Ha’s son have fallen in love.

An Affair


An Affair is a 1998 South Korean film. The quiet film about a woman

who falls in love with her sister’s fiance was the 7th-highest grossing

Korean film of 1998 and won the Best Asian Film award at the 1999 Newport

Beach International Film Festival.

Somewhere in between Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’

and a TV-drama, this movie about adultery from South-Korea somehow

manages to appeal to a broader audience while retaining integrity movieas-

art wise. Lee Je-young was unbeknown-est to me, but I just realized he

made three movies (and quite different ones at that) with a widely popular

appeal that I really enjoyed unrelated to each other.

This is a doomed relationship; the interesting thing is that they are

not judged in any way in the portrayal and it therefore becomes a meditation

on love, the impermanence of it and of life itself. Quite profound.

Lee Mi-suk is amazing in the role, and looks better than ever as 38.

Venue: Indian School of Folklore

(Academic Wing of National Folklore Support Centre)

#505, 5th Floor, Kaveri Complex,

96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam,

Chennai – 600 034. Ph: 28229192 / 42138410

(Behind Hotel Ganpath)

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Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam

This entry is part [part not set] of 41 in the series 20080320_Issue


Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam,

Federation of Film Societies of India (TSLO)


National Folklore Support Centre

Jointly present

Contemporary World Cinema


6.00 P.M.: Carravaggio

Derek Jarman / UK / 1986 / Col / 90 Min


6.00 P.M.: Moolaade

Ousmane Sembene / Senegal / 2004 / Col / 120 Min


The film is a fictionalized re-telling of the life of Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Jarman’s movie is involved with the love triangle of Caravaggio (NigelTerry), Lena (Tilda Swinton)

and Ranuccio (Sean Bean) and dwells upon

Caravaggio’s use of street people, drunks and prostitutes as models for his

intense, usually religious paintings (see the article on the painter for

examples). As with Caravaggio’s own use of contemporary dress for his

Biblical figures, Jarman depicts his Caravaggio in a bar lit with electric lights,

or another character using an electronic calculator.

The film is notable for its texture and attention to detail, the

intense performances and the idiosyncratic humor. By presenting

Caravaggio as one of the founders of the chiaroscuro technique, it helped

give expression to the legend that was beginning to form around him.

Jarman’s Caravaggio also suggests that his legend ultimately eclipsed

his enormous talent.

Caravaggio was the first time that Jarman worked with Tilda

Swinton and was her first film role. The film also features Robbie

Coltrane, Dexter Fletcher, Michael Gough and Nigel Davenport. The

production designer was Christopher Hobbs who was also responsible

for the copies of Caravaggio paintings seen in the film.


Moolaadé is a 2004 African film by Senegalese director Ousmane

Sembène. It addresses the subject of female circumcision, a common

practice in a number of African countries, especially nations immediately

south of the Sahara desert. The film is set in a village in Burkina Faso,

and was filmed in the remote village of Djerrisso, Burkina Faso. The film

argues strongly against the practice, depicting a village woman, Colle,

who uses moolaadé (magical protection) to protect a group of girls. She

is opposed by the villagers who believe in the necessity of circumcision,

which they call ‘purification’.

In an African village this is the day when six 4 to 9-year-old girls

are to be circumcised. All children know that the operation is horrible

torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some circumcised

women can only give birth by Caesarean operation. Two of the girls have

drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation. The four other

girls seek “magical protection” (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who

seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé

is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and

fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself. Her

husband’s relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking.

Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but

no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the

merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted

out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered.

Venue: Indian School of Folklore

(Academic Wing of National Folklore Support Centre)

#505, 5th Floor, Kaveri Complex,

96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam,

Chennai – 600 034. Ph: 28229192 / 42138410

(Behind Hotel Ganpath)

Series Navigation