Sunday, July 6, 2008

K-Movie; S Diary

"The memories I thought I would lose, held me close. I don't know what kind of love will find me or leave me, but I think I will be able to keep good memories of it." - Nah Jin Hee - S Diary
I didn't feel like investing this holiday weekend in an entire kdrama television series, so I looked around for a movie. S Diary seemed to fit bill nicely.

Several of my favorite actors are in S Diary; Kim Sun-A, Gong Yoo, Hyun Bin's mother from Kim Sam Soon and even a cameo of a young pre-Army Jang Hyuk. The premise of the story is that Jini (Sun-A) gets dumped yet again by her latest boyfriend (played early on by Jang Hyuk). He rather cruelly points out to her that she is smothering him and he is simply unable to tolerate the relationship any longer. He goads her into seeking out her past lovers to prove to her that he is right.

We flashback to Jini few years previously, singing in her parish choir at her Catholic Church. She crushes on the choir director played by Lee Hyeon Woo. This affair was brief, documenting Jini's first intimate experience with a man; Jini is sweet and virginal. He abandons her to become a priest.

Jini then takes up with another man, played by Kim So Roo (who I recognize but can't for the life of me place). KSR plays a biker who enjoys the passion that he and Jini share. Jini cooks and cleans for KSR, supports him really. He eventually dumps her when he finally makes it onto the police force and he marries someone more suitable.

The most explicit relationship for Jini is with an artist played by Gong Yoo. They meet on New Years Eve and ring the new year in with sex and a lot of it. Jini is older than GY, helps take car of his mother's dog, plays video games with him, goes clubbing with him, but this fails to hold his interest for very long. We see him work his magic on some younger girls at the club.

So at the point Jang Hyuk breaks up with Jini, she takes some time to re-read her diaries - in as much an effort to prove Jang Hyuk wrong as anything else. She looks her old lovers up and learns that from their perspective - hey, we had a little fun, nothing more, let it go.

Girls don't let things go that easily. Probably better if we did, but we don't.

Jini begins a campaign of revenge. When they individually refuse to pay her the amount she determines would be fair compensation for her body and her effort, she decides to exact payment in another way. With the help of her two gay men friends, she puts viagra in the priest's wine, she vandalizes the cop's car, and she kidnaps the dog and makes it look like she had it made into stew. There's more, but those are the big ticket items.

All the old flames eventually pay up, and while Jini is celebrating her success, she realizes that she still feels hollow and empty and no amount of financial compensation is going to take that pain away.

The comedy was mediocre, the romance - much more explicit than what I have been used to in the typical k-drama format ~ a change to be sure ~ this ain't no hand holding. But what has stayed with me and what I really enjoyed about the film was the message at the end.

Like so many women, Jini realizes that all those years she tried to be what she thought her men wanted her to be. She always tried to suit them, rather than finding out what suited her. She searches her soul and realizes that the memories created is not her experience alone. These are experiences shared with her lovers. These men contributed to the person she is today, a person of warmth and value who is ready to discover who she is and what makes her happy. She lets go of the bitterness and remembers with fondness all the good that they experienced together.
"The memories that I held precious were not just my own. I can't erase them myself, so I send them back."
We then see moments from each of her lovers, moments of their joy with Jini, what they found enchanting or passionate or beautiful or charming in her that they cherished. We are meant to realize that there is always giving and taking in every relationship. We are meant to remember that it's not just we who are impacted; we too touch everyone we encounter in some way. It's up to us to let go of the bitterness and remember with fondness all the good experienced.

A lovely movie, wrapped up in some bawdy obvious humor, but that had a sweet message. I liked it.


Anonymous said...

My! The best review I've read about SDiary... Bookmarking (can I use this on KSA's website - that is once i find the time to re-opne it... maybe in 2 or 3 years time... hehehe).
S Diary, i believe, is the best movie of KSA to date... not many can appreciate it. I needed more time as well. It was the first KSA movie I watched after MNIKSS, and the 'shock' (shock - ksa is not kim sam soon) was left in me than really thinking about the movie's meaning. After a few more re-watch, the film became more and more endearing to me... now that I was able to focus on the story and not on KSA anymore... Really really nice message. Did you know that KSA learned a lot from filming this movie as well? She learned to let go her past love too... good story for women, right?

Anonymous said...

i was wondering, at the end did jini send to her exlovers her diaries or just copies of her book?

E said...

I think just copies of her book.

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