Home » Thinking about the multi-layered language of Hong Soo-jung’s “decision to break up” and Seo-rae’s decision

Thinking about the multi-layered language of Hong Soo-jung’s “decision to break up” and Seo-rae’s decision

by Pansy Robbins

After seeing Seorae’s latest pick in the cinema, I couldn’t move for a while. I wrote to talk about the surprise of this decision.

Whatever they say, is a language film. Not all of them, but I don’t think I can start the story without it. Beginning is a word. “To finish”. From the moment this word appears, the words in the film start to get weird. What does it mean when your husband is “finally” dead? Did he awkwardly express his regret at finally being dead? Did I unknowingly leak the coolness that the long-awaited result has arrived? Is it the unique language habit of foreigners who learned Korean through historical dramas? The word (“finally”) diverges from the moment it is spoken, creating multiple layers of meaning.

Seo Rae (Tang Wei) says: Bring me the heart of a nice detective. Seorae later corrected the meaning of “heart” rather than “heart”, but it’s hard to get rid of the strange feeling that this sentence conveys. Here, three layers coexist: the Chinese sound that Seorae spoke for the first time, the awkward Korean language converted by the translator, and the Korean language that Seorae corrected again. However, Seorae’s words do not belong to any of the three levels and give off various meanings. Will it be compared to music? If a word with a single meaning is a note played “staccato,” Seorae’s words are a gently expanding third chord. It’s not clear, but it’s ambiguous and rich, so it’s beautiful. Multi-layered languages ​​that emit multiple meanings at the same time, like an agreement.

As the film progresses, the multi-layered tongues increase. Flowing chords pile up one after another, like an orchestral concerto. And as time passes, you realize There’s a melody that these languages ​​secretly share. It is a “melody of love”. Why did you come to Ipoh (you came all the way to see me). Does it matter to you (I wonder if I missed you). not only the language At the base of their actions, there is always a tender affection. Sushi. toothpaste. feather. secret investigation. “Hello”. ashtray. Hand cream. A dark picture. The surface of action is paved with dry everyday life, but beneath a layer affection flows like waves.

Why can’t they confess each other’s feelings transparently, and say them secretly between languages? It may be because of your identity. detective and suspect. between you should not share your feelings. Maybe it’s because of the situation. A man with a wedding ring and a woman who has just taken off her wedding ring. It’s probably because these are people who find it difficult to reveal their secrets. A man who has lived with dignity and a woman who does not speak Korean. Nevertheless, we feel that the emotions are constantly moving between them, crossing the boundaries of status, situation and language.

Tragically, the opposite is happening. Delete photos, erase audio files. It turns out there was a dark intent to destroy the evidence underlying many actions performed in the name of affection. Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) is desperate. Was it just a scheme by Black Widow (a female spider that eats males after mating), who dreams of a perfect crime? However, Seo-rae refuses to see her actions as evil (“Don’t Say Our Business Like That”). In the end, his actions remain on two layers at the same time: affection and crime.

There is a scene that symbolically reveals their unique method of dialogue. The two go to the temple together and have a conversation with a drum between the two. During normal conversation, they take turns beating drums. Hae-jun speaks and beats the drum once (Dong-Dong), Seo-Rae responds twice (Dong-Dong), and Hae-Jun responds three times (Dong-Dong). The seemingly meaningless knocking sounds accumulate one by one, and playful and friendly emotions slowly bloom and fill the space. A normal conversation continues, pretending not to know. This scene, in which two dialogues take place at the same time, elegantly reveals the functioning of the linguistic world constructed by .

And finally, the decisive dialogue appears. “I’m throwing this phone into the sea. It’s so deep no one can find it. After hearing this, Seorae springs into action. However, the action exceeds our expectations. The cellphone is passed to Hae-jun. Instead, she throws herself into the sea. As if to practice Haejun’s words with her whole body, she drowns in the depths and makes no one find her. I confess that I have come a long way to talk about the meaning of this choice.

Throw this phone in the sea. This word also has several meanings. First, it means covering up the truth by destroying the evidence. But there are also other hidden meanings here. Hae-jun has lost his detective pride and completely crumbled, but he still tries to protect Seo-rae until the end. This wretched and dismal heart will fully fit into the broad and gross concept of “love”. It was in this context that Seo-rae fell in love with Hae-jun. Hae-jun’s words are therefore instructions to hide the truth and a desperate confession of love.

As if in response to those words, Seorae makes a decision and drowns in the sea. The reason why this decision is surprising is that she captures all the meanings of Haejun’s words and responds to them one by one. First she is tasked with destroying the evidence, then destroys herself, the greatest evidence. It is also a choice to protect Hae-jun. From now on, no one will dare to bully him because of his relationship with Seorae. In terms of hiding the truth, she executes Haejun’s instructions perfectly. But on the other hand, considering her lyrics to be a passionate confession of love, she completely betrays Hae-jun’s expectations. Respond with death to a lover’s confession? It is a cruel punishment. However, it’s also the last battle to catch Hae-jun, who keeps drifting away. Seo-rae destructively proves her love through death and captures him again as he leaves. Her determination to protect her lover with her own hands while realizing her love is amazing. Seo-rae obeys Hae-jun and at the same time betrays, frees and binds him at the same time. His determination responds to Haejun’s words, which can be interpreted in many ways, on all levels and completely overwhelms them.

This is the particularity of Seorae. Among the women of Park Chan-wook, has there ever been a woman so sacrificial, cruel, obedient and subjective? If this is a game about love, Hae-jun was defeated by Seo-rae. With the tongue of Hae-jun’s mouth, she wraps around and grabs him tightly and drags him away. Recall that Haejun was a sincere detective who solved the case step by step by following the suspect’s path. He tracked Seorae to the Ipo Sea, and the woman who claimed to be an unsolved case disappeared like smoke. Haejun’s exit from this place seems far-fetched.

I think I can quite understand the title of the movie now. A “decision to break up” is a decision to love, a decision to die, and a decision not to separate forever. There are vague and beautiful tongues that have never been before in the world of Park Chan-wook, and a bold and romantic decision that I have never seen before. Park Chan-wook’s world has grown exactly as big as the world created by . With him I now stand on the distant blue sea.

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