dreamer_easy: (Default)
Movie Poster

What goes up must come down. I'm feeling pretty awful right now. Nothing to do but get on the sofa, fire up Stan (which we have at the mo for Twin Peaks), and see if they have any Korean movies. Not many, but there's something called "Age of Shadows". Oh, and Lee Byunghun's in it - one of my favourite Korean actors (and a honey to boot). And - a particular shot through a car's windshield gave this away - it's directed by Kim Jee-woon, whose work I admire, if perhaps not exactly like.

The movie (its Korean title is 밀정 "Spy") is set during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The main character is a Korean working for the Japanese police. From the start, he's played as unexpectedly sympathetic; the plot hinges on whether this double agent will eventually choose one side over the other.

The direction is elegant and sometimes beautiful. It's a visually striking period (compare The Mystic Nine), with so much Western influence alongside traditional Korean and Japanese dress (spot the gat in the courtroom scene). I wonder if the handful of white faces in the movie are there for exotic colour! (I wondered this about Mystic Nine, too.) The action extravaganza that opens the film typifies this, with dozens of Japanese police in Western-style uniforms swarming through the streets and over the tiled roofs of Seoul like black ants. The use of Ravel's Bolero later in the film was hair-raising! There's a far bit of blood and a severed toe, but nothing like the rivers of gore in "A Bittersweet Life" by the same director.

In most but not all of the Korean movies I've seen, women have been marginal (this may partly be because I've seen so many gangster movies!) - the story revolves around relationships and questions of loyalty between men. Given the content of "I Saw The Devil", in which naked women are literally cut into pieces and consumed, on the whole I'd rather Kim Jee-woon left female characters out as much as possible. In that film, as in "Age of Shadows", women suffer in order to motivate the men; the fiance of the hero of "I Saw The Devil" (Lee Byunghyun again) is literally fridged so that he can pursue the cannibalistic baddie for private vengeance, getting two women sexually assaulted in the process (there's an unforgiveable shot of a schoolgirl's body as the cannibal molests her); in Kim's movie "A Bittersweet Life", the female character is caught between a gangster boss and his underappreciated lackey (Lee Byunghyun again - are you seeing a pattern here?). To come back to "Age of Shadows", Yeon (Han Jimin) is given a badass moment before being tortured and dying to feed the guilt and grief of our heroes. At least the director didn't get her waps out.

I've seen enough Korean movies now that I'm starting to recognise actors from other things. The lead, Song Kang-ho, was also in Shiri, Joint Security Area, and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. (Yoo Gong, on the other hand, is in things I haven't seen yet, like Train to Busan and the Kdrama Goblin.)

Well, my mood can't have completely collapsed if I have the energy to write this. The movie took me out of myself, for which I am duly grateful. Now perhaps an episode of 파수꾼 ("Lookout" / "Guardian").
dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
Remember what I was just saying about how this episode of hypomania, and indeed the recent years of my life, have lacked religious feelings? After a badly disrupted night's sleep (I have a cold), and the first in a week without Saphris, I just glanced at a page, saw this Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph, and felt my generator sparking:


It's a sundisc, with rays of light coming down. I know the image from complex diagrams like this one:



The sun god, travelling in his sky-ship, sends down rays of energy that revivify the dead.

I feel like I want to nurture that image. Which would mean nurturing not just positive and sacred feeling, but potentially an elevated mood. Uh oh. How do I stay happy and busy, up but not too far up?

(For those of you who are curious: the black disc in the ship is the sun, with the goddess Maat, representing cosmic order, sitting in the front. Beneath that is the hieroglyph for "sky", with the sun-god's falcon head poking down, emanating what look (to me) like hours of the day and night and general beams of light onto a mummy, which is protected at head and foot by the goddesses Isis (left) and Nephthys. The sun and his rays are also protected by goddesses, in this case Nekhbet (the vulture) and Wadjet (the cobra). This is an image of the dead person safely tucked away in the netherworld, given eternal life by the creator god, and participating in the creator's activities. All is as it should be. The picture comes from the book Egyptian Religious Texts and Representations by Alexandre Piankoff and was redrawn from a funerary papyrus in the Louvre.)

ETA: Aw yiss, this is what I'm talking about. (The rays are turning into multicoloured flowers.)



(The stela of Lady Taperet, also at the Louvre.)

dreamer_easy: (*health)
To counter my jetlag-induced hypomania, my psychiatrist asked me to take Saphris for one week. The goal is to prevent a bout of depression - what goes up must come down. This is the most intense episode I've had since I was diagnosed. Last night was the last dose. The only real side-effects, once they settled down, are that it's intensely sedating - not really a problem when you take it at bedtime - and seriously increased appetite, which is a problem when you're overweight and diabetic.

The symptoms have been the mixed bag you expect with hypomania - agitation, irritability, feeling "crazy" or "out of control", racing thoughts, rumination, increased creativity, somewhat reduced need for sleep, a general sense of well-being. (Nothing in the way of religious feelings, though, which is unusual for me, and distressing. I've missed those for a long time.) The effect of the medication has been to reduce the agitation and "out of control" feeling.

In some ways, right now, I'm in an ideal state - a bit too irritable, but very energetic and busy, bursting with ideas, getting lots done, able to focus pretty well. In fact, except for the missing religious feelings, I'm more or less where I've been trying to get back to for years.

The question is, what next? Will my mood becoming elevated again as a result of stopping the Saphris? As Bipolar Owl reminds us, "elevated mood does not necessarily mean happy". Will the depressive crash hit, or will I gently drift back to earth? Or will I keep sailing along at this ideal level, and if so, for how long?

For the first time, I've been having those dangerous "I feel fine, I don't need these stupid meds" thoughts that I've heard so many mentally ill people talk about. Luckily, precisely because being too far "up" is so unpleasant, I think I'll have the insight to restart the Saphris if I still need it (and contact my shrink to figure out our next step).

The voice am I using in posting this, btw, is one I've invented specifically for communicating online while I'm like this. When I'm hypomanic I tend to be gnomic, as though nothing I say needs to be unpacked or footnoted. (Although I'm not going to explain the title. You can figure that out for yourselves. :)

As I type these words, Jon changed channels on Internet Radio and we caught the last moments of "A Day In The Life". Hmmm.
dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
내면에 감춘 분노들을 말해 봐

I really shouldn’t be posting when I’m hypomanic, but I can’t be the only 미친 여자 out there who has had an episode triggered by a Kpop song. I once turned up at a doctor’s appointment exploding out of my skin after listening to FT Island’s Hit The Sands on the bus. This afternoon it was VIXX and Hyde. I was abruptly so absurdly high that I had a little trouble functioning in the supermarket.

I’ll be OK: this is just the cumulative effect of jetlag, anxiety, PMS, and, above all disrupted sleep. But I realised there was another factor at work as well - which inevitably led to an explosion of thoughts, which I’ll try to get down here.

Now, VIXX’s MVs are sometimes at odds with the lyrics of their songs. For example, the six-voiced protagonist of 저주인형 (VOODOO DOLL) threatens his ex’s faithless lovers - “Open the doors of hell / sinners who made her cry / (you will) cry tears of blood”, but the band themselves portray those sinners. In Hyde, the narrator (once again a single character shared between six bodies and voices) puts up a tormented struggle, verbally and physically, against his own aggression - but at the end, those big, black wings come bursting out, and he displays them without shame to the faceless girl, who holds him, wings and all, in her heart.

It’s tempting to smile or even laugh at the melodrama of it all, but adolescent feelings are real and overwhelming, and what’s more, teenage boys are surely both the most alluring and the most dangerous - literally - things in the lives of most heterosexual teenage girls. Songs and MVs like this (and fan fiction, too) must be a place where young women can safely work through some of their complicated feelings about young men.

More importantly, they may be a place where girls can work through their own negative feelings, especially feelings of aggression, which we are taught to swallow, not show. The boyfriend of VOODOO DOLL is willing to endure his lover’s anger, without ending the relationship: “Sing the curse song of / tell me the fury hidden inside you / my body is an offering to you / I’ll devote myself to your happiness” (and the one in Chained Up (사슬) is willing to be the recipient of dark sexual fantasies). The protagonist of Hyde protests over and over that he is not a bad person, but ultimately he admits and owns the “other person inside me who is not me” (as we see in LR’s Beautiful Liar, he can control :), and that person is accepted and loved.

You can be a bad person, and survive! Even a kimchi-molesting pervert like me. XD No wonder my mood jumped through the ceiling in the space of three minutes and twenty-one seconds.

To conclude, I wanted to mention the line in Hyde I was thinking about the other day. It’s this: 겁을 먹어버린 그 눈빛 이러지마. You’ll see it translated around the Web as “Don’t give me those scared eyes”, but (disclaimer: my Korean sucks)  the adjective 먹어버린 is “eaten completely”, so it might be better rendered “Don’t give me that fear-devoured glance”. Wow!

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