izabrana dela

izabrana dela

понедељак, 17. април 2017.

THE WAILING CONFUSION



Odavno sam na blogu pisao o filmu THE WAILING. Šta sam pre skoro godinu dana o njemu napisao, možete se podsetiti ako kliknete na plavi link.
Ovaj film je izazvao brojne polemike, tumačenja, rasprave, egzegeze, filozofijade, maratone i ostala natjecanja u rasplitanju Kolariću-Panića koji nam je ponuđen u ova dva i po sata smućkanog triler-horora, okultnog horora, horor komendije, policijskog procedurala, serijskog ubice, zaraze, zombija, filma demonske opsednutosti i svega osim kuhinjskog slivnika ubačenog u ovu korejsku klin-čorbu.
            Do sada sam ga pogledao četiri puta – od toga, poslednji put je bilo na nedavnom FEST-u, kada sam, zbog ovog filma (tj. njegovog kasnog termina za novinarsku projekciju), bio voljan da debelo iza ponoći peške pređem nekoliko kilometara po ne baš toplom vazduhu; pazi, ne zbog premijernog gledanja (premijerno sam ga gledao na skrineru dobijenom preko RUE MORGUE-a), nego zbog četvrtog gledanja!
            Da li sam posle gledanja na VELIKOM PLATNU nešto pametniji? Da li sam bliži rešenju enigme ko ovde koga i zašto baš tada i baš tako i baš njega/nju – pogledajte u ovoj zanimljivoj raspravi koju sam pre neki dan imao na Fejsbuku. Da, upravo tako – na onom mestu koje većina ljudi koristi za cat videos & cat pictures, za širenje meme-a i jućub spotova, za slike svoje dece i svojih obroka i svojih srećnih života ja sam se upustio u dijalog sa jednim pokušajem tumačenja ovog filma, a sada, zato što je to šteta da to čami samo tamo, daleko od očiju mnogih koje bi to moglo zanimati, rešio am da tu diskusiju podelim sa vama. Možda se nećete složiti ni sa mnom ni sa mojim drugim diskutantom, ali će vas valjda naša diskusija i ponuđeni argumenti i PITANJA podstaći na neka vaša nova promišljanja i tumačenja ovog filma!
            Ako se to desi, ne budite sebični, ne čuvajte to za sebe – podelite svoje teorije sa nama, ovde, u komentarima! Do tada, evo kako je to izgledalo. Pošto su moji sagovornici (uglavnom) Ameri, diskusija je bila vođena na američanskom. Inače, svi involvirani su profesionalci iz sveta filma: programski direktori festivala, kritičari, selektori, novinari...




Travis Crawford: It's funny -- a lot of people *hate* the final section of THE WAILING, primarily because it's not exactly the most coherent resolution in the world, but I kind of liked it simply because it does opt to go off in a unique direction.

Dejan Ognjanovic: "not exactly the most coherent resolution in the world"! Ha ha ha! Not exactly among the top 100.000 most coherent resolutions in the world, more likely!
I like it against my better judgment. but after 4 viewings I'm still not sure there is any reason (or sense) that stuff happened the way it did. many actions and reactions throughout the film make no coherent sense whatsoever.

Dag Sødtholt: I thought it was a terrifically thrilling ride, but I agree, any film should still make sense. Do you have one example? (If I decide to see it again in the near future.)

Dejan Ognjanovic: The main thing is - the Jap. The film seems to accuse prejudice, including racial prejudice against him, but the films shows that in this instance he IS the devil (or at least something evil, an evil spirit or what not). But is he, really? Or does the film show him from THEIR eyes? But how do we know whose perspective is assumed in any specific scene? Let's not forget that we see him 'objectively' in the very first scene, setting up a trap - i.e. fishing... Coincidence? I think not. ALSO - what is the sin that the bumbling policeman is accused of and punished for by having his daughter possessed? Prejudice! He went against the Jap with no evidence. BUT, again, he had every reason to suspect him. And the film proves that he was right in that. Or was he?
And if the shaman was in cahoots with the Jap - what WAS the masterplan between the two of them? What were they aiming for? What's the shaman's motivation? What's the purpose of the 'exorcism'? Why is the Jap so much hurt, almost killed by it, if they're in it together?
Not to mention who/what is the Woman? What's her role in the plot, is she of this or the other world? She seems to protect the village, but again, is not very efficient in it, and demands some strange sacrifices... and we have no clue as to the limits of her powers (if any, except making shamans vomit profusely).
In short, my hunch is that the writer/director is not playing fair, that he's omitting info that should not be omitted and that he's adding confusing details, and that the purpose of it all is mystification instead of a mystery.



Paul Kazee (to Dejan Ognjanovic): - Shamans, like Mediums, invite the spirits of the dead inside them. One occupational risk of being is Shaman is becoming possessed by an evil spirit. With that in mind, note that the Japanese man is a Monk who has become possessed by an evil spirt, but - thanks to a botched exorcism - the spirit leaves him and enters the Shaman instead. As such, the two are not so much in cahoots, as both independently taking turns serving an evil master. And yes, the woman is a guardian of sorts. What follows is a much too long and messy attempt to make some sense of the film, largely based on...
1) the following video posted to youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxjp2YIk798), 
2) a reddit post that disagrees with the video on several points (https://www.reddit.com/user/Michiwitch), and
3) responses to both of these by several other people.
One of the stated themes of the film appears to be that people see what they expect to see - or are conditioned to see - thus the Catholic Priest seeing HIS understanding of "The Devil" in the possessed Japanese Monk. No doubt, this conceit is also meant to encompass an audience's understanding of the film, but - even so - it is worth reviewing some elements of the film that viewers are being asked to interpret.
First, I suppose it needs to be noted that characters and concepts throughout the film relate to an assortment of spiritual beliefs. Second, in keeping with the theme of seeing what one is conditioned to see, a central idea in the film is that there are Demons among us who can change their appearance, or who seem to change appearance depending on who is doing the looking. Or maybe we merely see them as demons.
In any case, a key character is "The Japanese Stranger." He appears to be a Buddhist Monk who has become possessed by an evil Crow Spirit/Demon. When the police ask him why is came to Korea, he says "Youko", which I've read is an archaic term for a Fox Spirit. In Japanese mythology, a Fox Spirit is often a beloved guardian or protector (though a Fox Spirit is often alternately presented as a seductress who - often unintentionally - leads men to their demise), so presuming he was possessed by evil before arrival (as opposed to becoming possessed after arrival), it would seem he wishes to destroy this guardian Fox Spirit.
This leads us to the ghostly female character, who some critics have referred to as a "Guardian Angel," which fits rather nicely with the guardian Fox Spirit theory. It should be noted, that this character is not given a name in the films Korean credits. Instead, the written Korean characters that were translated as "Mu Myeong" in the subtitles, actually mean "nameless" or "no name" (or so I've read). In any case, she appears to have good intentions, and - though seen by the Monk as a Buddhist Fox Spirit - at various points in the film, she is also seems to be associated with Christianity. One early indication of this could be that she is introduced throwing stones, possibly a reference to the Biblical quote, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." Then, later, she oversees the "cock crowing three times" scenario, a Biblical reference relating to Peter's denial of his Faith, while here relating to the policeman's need to have Faith in her. In any case, whatever she is (and maybe it depends on whether it's the Buddhist Monk or the Christian policeman who is doing the looking), her interest seems more in defeating the Demon than in saving the family, though - if she can do the later by accomplishing the former, she will.
Confused yet? Here's a rough summary of the sequence of events, starting from the point that the Policeman's daughter is stricken:
1. Under influence of an evil Crow Spirit, the Monk infects the Policeman's daughter.
2. The cop destroys the Monk's ritual room, kills his black dog and threatens to kill him if he does not leave in 3 days.
3. In response, the Monk hangs a dead black goat at his door to curse the policeman's family further (father is paralyzed momentarily; the daughter goes rabid and kills a neighbor). Via a ritual, he also revives a zombie to serve him as protection against the angry villagers.
4. A good Shaman is brought into the village by a policeman's mother. His goat and other animals, one might note, are white.
5. The Shaman removes a hidden black crow curse from a barrel and performs a risky out-of-body hex to kill the Monk. For the hex to be successful, the Shaman warns the policeman that there should be no drinking, no visitors and no interruption.
6. Although the hex is directed at the Demon who is inside the Monk, the daughter - who is under partial control of the Demon - also suffers in pain, and thus, pleads for her father to stop the hex.
7. The Monk almost dies from the Shaman's hex, but the interruption in the hex allows the Crow Demon to leave the weakened Monk in order to inhabit the Shaman instead.
8. The Monk, now good, returns to his room to recuperate, but remembering that he has revived a dangerous zombie, panics and goes out in search of it.
9. Meanwhile, fearing for his daughter's life, the policeman goes to the Monk's house with friends intent upon killing the Monk.
10. The Monk tries to escape the angry villagers but falls down a short cliff. He cries at the thought of his past sins and at the irony of his circumstance.
11. The Monk then sees the Ghostly Woman/Guardian Angel/Fox Spirit and chases after her. She runs from him, causing him to fall into the path of the policeman's car.
12. The policemen presumably kill the Monk by throwing him over a cliff.
13. The Shaman (now bad) laughs, recognizing that the Crow Demon has succeeded in making murderers out of the villagers. The Crow Demon can now also afford to loosen his grip on The Shaman, as he can easily re-enter and reanimate the dead and/or critically injured Monk.
14. The Shaman tries to collect souls for the Crow Demon (via picture taking), but he is confronted by The Ghostly Woman.
15. Fearing for his life, he abandons his mission and flees home seeking the protection of Buddha via candle lighting. The Crow Demon, however, reminds the Shaman that he is not done with him, first by blowing out his candles, and then by delivering a dead crow unto him as a death omen.
16. The Shaman still tries to flee, but the Crow Demon rains moths upon him to further instill in him a fear for the consequences in abandoning his task.
17. The Shaman rushes back toward the village to resume his final task, which is to collect the souls of the policeman's family. In order to accomplish this, he attempts to trick the policeman into believing that the "The Ghostly Woman" is an evil Demon, and that the Monk was just an innocent victim.
18. The Ghostly Woman sets up a trap for the Crow Demon. For the trap to be successful, however, the policeman must show Faith in her, and - of course - he has no reason to do so. Medicine has failed him. Catholicism has failed him. Why put his faith in her over the Shaman?
19. Ultimately, he denies her and finds that his daughter has killed his entire family. His daughter then kills him, and finally, she dies as well.
20. The Shaman arrives to take photos and collect their souls.


Dejan Ognjanovic (to Paul Kazee) - Thank you, Paul! Are you the author of all this, or is it copied from somewhere else? In either case, please don’t be mad that I’m NOT BUYING ANY OF IT – for reasons shown below.
„the Japanese man is a Monk who has become possessed by an evil spirt” – How do we know this, based on the film? Was it shown? Were we told? By whom?

“When the police ask him why is came to Korea, he says "Youko" – Damn, I wonder what the translation said at this point. I don’t recall him mentioning spirits of any kind!

“she is introduced throwing stones, possibly a reference to the Biblical quote, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." 
– This is one of the most nonsensical ‘arguments’ I’ve ever read! Acting like a semi-retarded person, or a very small child, randomly and aimlessly throwing small stones at people, just so as to allude to a random verse from the bible? So, since she’s throwing stones, it should imply that SHE is without sins? Well, for a Guardian spirit I’d say it’s a pretty big sin when they’re not doing their job! Who did she GUARD? She let the Jap come into the village and kill dozens of people, preventing nothing, guarding no one! Her greatest ‘HELP’ comes at the end, when she demands that a man sits and waits for the 3rd crow of a cock while he has every reason to believe that his family is in mortal danger while they speak! WOW, what a great test. A random stranger who REFUSES TO TEL WHO/WHAT SHE IS (WHY?) orders you to wait while your kid and wife may be DYING, and when you fail to do that, somehow YOU’re the one to blame, not the ‘guardian’ spirit! NONSENSE!

“She oversees the "cock crowing three times" scenario, a Biblical reference relating to Peter's denial of his Faith, while here relating to the policeman's need to have Faith in her.”
This is incredibly shallow and senseless ‘explanation’ because it joins the events which ARE NOT SIMILAR IN ANY WAY (except very superficially).
In the Biblical reference, Peter denies Jesus although he was his FOLLOWER and was in a privileged position to SEE and HEAR firsthand who/what HE was. So, it is a conscious and cowardly denial of his faith (for fear of Roman consequences) and betrayal of Jesus.
In the film, the cop HAS ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER ABOUT THE ‘GUARDIAN’ WOMAN and has NO REASON WHATSOEVER TO HAVE ‘FAITH’ IN HER. He does not betray anyone, he does not deny anything but a random unknown person making random demands!
Is the film promoting BLIND FAITH as a virtue?
Even if so, even for a BLIND FAITH, one needs a tiniest vestige of a shadow of a reason or proof that some ONE/THING deserves faith – not just ANY RANDOM STRANGER who comes and demands faith ‘because I told you so’!


“Under influence of an evil Crow Spirit, the Monk infects the Policeman's daughter.” So, this evil spirit is not inseparable one, like say Pazuzu in The Exorcist, who can possess only one person at a time and has to jump from person to person (say, from Raegan to Demian, unable to be in both of them at the same time)? Is this concept of POSSESSION AS INFECTION based on some Eastern folklore, or is it invented for the film? It seems very much ANYTHING GOES to me! 

“Via a ritual, he also revives a zombie to serve him as protection against the angry villagers.” Is there ANY LIMIT to shaman’s powers? He can possess whomever he wants, he can raise the dead… On the other hand, his opponent, the Foxy Lady, can DO WHAT, EXACTLY? Go around throwing stones at people? And he’s so worried about her that he had to come all the way from Japan to deal with her? Btw. How effective ‘weapon’ is it, really, to have one mindless tottering zombie protect you against the MOB OF RIGHTFULLY ANGRY PEOPLE? Quite RANDOM & POINTLESS, not to mention attention-drawing. 

“allows the Crow Demon to leave the weakened Monk in order to inhabit the Shaman instead.“ Why isn’t this signaled in any small way in the film? How do we know this is what happened?

“The Monk, now good, returns to his room to recuperate, but remembering that he has revived a dangerous zombie” – So, the possessed have a memory of what they did under the influence of the evil spirit? Interesting. Usually it’s not like that.

“He cries at the thought of his past sins and at the irony of his circumstance.” – Well, this is quite clumsily done, if THAT’S the meaning behind this scene. I’d say the director is to blame for the confusion, for failing to be even remotely clear as to WHO’S POSSESSED (OR NOT) WHEN BY WHO/WHAT!

“She runs from him, causing him to fall into the path of the policeman's car.” HOLY MOLLY! How do you make someone do something while RUNNING AWAY FROM THEM?! 1) If the “Monk” is GOOD at this point, why should he be chasing the “good” Foxy Lady? 2) Even an animal would fail to be lead into such a clumsy trap as the one described above for the Jap (not to mention, if the evil spirit is not in him at that time, if he’s just an empty vessel, why should the Foxy bother killing him? HE’S GOOD NOW, FOR CHRIST SAKES!) 3) The film does not show the Jap chasing the Foxy when he falls onto the car. She’s nowhere to be seen in front of him. So, how/why is he ‘lead’ in front of the car if we’re not shown his ‘lure’?!


“Fearing for his life, he abandons his mission and flees home seeking the protection of Buddha “ – So, a person possessed by an evil spirit goes and actively asks protection from his opponent? Sorry, but that makes no sense. 

“The Shaman rushes back toward the village to resume his final task, which is to collect the souls of the policeman's family” So, one moment he’s possessed and evil, next he’s doing the goody Buddha rituals, then again he’s collecting souls, then repenting, then running AWAY, then running TOWARDS, - THIS WHOLE BACK-AND-FORTH is silly and clumsy and utterly CONFUSING. Not a good thing in ANY plot, and quite RUINOUS in a horror film!

“For the trap to be successful, however, the policeman must show Faith in her, and - of course - he has no reason to do so. Medicine has failed him. Catholicism has failed him. Why put his faith in her over the Shaman?” This rule, for the trap to be successful, seems utterly RANDOM! Why should it work just that way? Why does the Foxy Lady need HIS F*CKING FAITH in anything? And WHY should he have it in her? NO REASON WHATSOEVER! SHE GAVE HIM NO REASON TO HAVE FAITH IN HER. She even refused his very reasonable questions, she failed to say anything about who/what she was… and therefore SHE’s the one who’s to be blamed for the ensuing tragedy, not the cop’s “lack of faith”! SOME GUARDIAN!

And what about the final scene? This ‘explanation’ fails to account for the last scene, with the priest in the Jap’s lair, where he assumes the full demonic shape. What about THAT?

Paul Kazee (to Dejan Ognjanovic) - Wow! You REALLY have it in for this flick. As noted, most of what I wrote comes from a youtube video and a reddit thread. The film fascinated me and - for that reason - I wanted to try to make some sense of it. The video and the reddit helped me to do that.

Dejan Ognjanovic (to Paul Kazee) I'm glad for you if what you quoted/retold above made sense to you; sadly, it did not clarify anything to me other than strengthening my hunch that the film is just confusing and inconsistent for its own sake, without any point or coherence to it. Tere's good kind of ambiguity, which I welcome ('The Turn of the Screw', THE SHINING, etc), but this is a bad kind, based on gaps, inconsistencies, random stuff and too wild expectations from the viewers' willingness to fill in the all-too-numerous blanks with whatever associations come to their minds from whatever branch of religion, mysticism or folklore belief comes handy at any given point (but with no overall coherence).

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