It seems a little sad,

to leave it like this. hmmm.


“Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” – Paradise Cinema (1988)


i love their relationship

As a film about films, obviously one of the most prominent ideas was the role of film and how it’s changed. In the movie, film is first depicted as a huge event, a luxury shared by all the townsfolk. It’s also a place where things happen, where some parts of their lives are changed, like the guy who found love for example.

xeno [n.] the smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers- a flirtatious glance, sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidence- moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptom of feeling alone -the dictionary of obscure sorrows

I know it’s not a real word ish, but i love it and that’s what makes it real, check it out some time it’s really cool. And it embodies my feelings about this part of the movie (as it does with life in general) really well, to me at least. Anyway, back to the analysis. With the whole internet streaming and DVDs and etc., it’s kinda hard to think that at some point, film was actually this big. That people would actually go to the point to get their boats just to watch a movie. It seems tedious, but a lot more magical, and a lot more of a shared moment. In the movie, film is the one unifying thing where people who disagree, people of different classes and etc. congregate to one spot to celebrate the same thing. Thinking about it in relation to my own life.. Film is more like a perfunctory form of comfort, I mean yes, I love movies, the escapism and emotions etc. Compared to then though, a lot of the meaning is quite nonexistant.


this one really amazed me, and made me a little sad.

Overall, I really liked how Tornatore depicted the role of cinema. He depicts not only love and progress but also class differences and religion within the cinema. The class difference is clearly shown by the levels at which the people are seated (quite literally), the top level for the higher class while the bottom for the lower. One character sits on the top tier and just spits on those at the bottom (VERY LITERALLY). This is first met with moans of disagreement and later, as cinema changes, so do the people, and he is greeted with something nasty to the face.

The cinema played a huge role in changing the society,most apparent, when the cinema is bought over and censoring ceases. It was exaggerated (i hope haha) but there was a lot of masturbating and lets not forget the two people having sex. Oh, and the prostitute.

As for religion, the embodiment of religion in the form of the priest was very interesting. In a way, it felt as though Tornatore was mocking religion a little as the priest is this comical bumbling character who is easily duped and etc. I guess in a way this showed how little religion meant to Toto in the film.. like there are other things that are important, not just one’s religion. When the priest arrives too late to say goodbye, it’s as though religion didn’t matter that much to Toto and he was okay leaving it. I could be wrong though. But this brings me to that scene as a whole. From that alone, it’s very apparent who’s important to Toto, not his family (although to a certain degree, of course) but Alfredo. It was the longest and most heartwarming. It’s sad that his relationship with his mother and sister is almost nil though.

In a way, Alfredo was living vicariously through Toto, keeping track of his successes and etc. Giving him advice… in relation to Erikson’s stages, Alfredo is no doubt depicted in both the final two, Generativity vs Stagnation and Ego Integrity vs Despair. He nurtures Toto, making his life better (especially when his somewhat abusive mother comes into view), giving him advice to “make sure” Toto lives a better life than he did. Based on the theory, it’s possible that he did this because he needed to achieve feelings of usefulness and meaning in his life, to leave a mark. Keeping all Toto’s achievements and etc. on the other hand is evidence of the latter stage, where it is important to feel a sense of fulfillment and wisdom. I feel the film depicted these stages quite well actually, very accurate.


Alfredo’s advice and realisations

About the advice Alfredo gives Toto, the whole not looking back and etc. It’s well-meaning , but a little off. I feel the director wants to highlight this. For instance, the quote about the thread breaking. At the end of the movie, it’s only partially true. Some things change, some don’t. This is shown quite literally when Toto’s mother stops knitting and greets him . Her knitting unravels, the thread follows her  but it never breaks. Not everything changes, the past should not be completely forgotten. Maybe Alfredo realises this and that’s why he splices the scenes together and presents it to Toto at his death. Not only a promise, but also a realisation that while one must move forwards, it is important not to forget the past as well. I read something somewhere “the present only makes sense when looked through eyes of the past”.

Toto and Alfredo, I feel, were the human manifestations of cinema (sounds really ridiculous as I’m typing this). Toto, obviously, the new cinema (OH! MAYBE THAT’S WHY IT’S TITLED NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO. IT’S BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT NEW CINEMA AKA TOTO. OH THAT WOULD BE COOL. sorry, sudden eureka! moment :B) learns everything and adapts what he’s learnt from Alfredo (old cinema). I’m going to stick by this idea, IT’S SO OBVIOUS NOW. I mean, come on, the cinema is demolished right at Alfredo’s death. It’s really beautiful, even thinking about it this way, both form of cinema’s act and learn from each other.

One of the sad parts of this was the fact that with all Alfredo’s guiding and etc. Toto still doesn’t really have a very satisfied life. He has all the material things, but as Dr Goh said, his life is somewhat empty, lacking in love and losing meaning? That may be taking it a little far though. But that’s how it sort of is with change and such, especially modernisation (Eat, Drink, Man, Woman/Dances With Wolves). As time passes, people become inherently more demanding and also unhappy with the new lifestyle. Although everyone starts out yearning for a more sophisticated way of life (which ironically is what the movies brought) they begin to feel less satisfied and crave for simpler times, looking for harmony and deeper meaning.


this part. gosh.

When we first see Toto in the city, the atmosphere is a little bleak, like he’s lost some of this meaning in life. He had followed Alfredo’s advice to the T, went off, did what he loved and never looked back. He was successful, something that probably might have eluded him if he had stayed (we are affirmed when Toto looks at all the faces of the patrons of the cinema, who have aged but remained more or less the same). That’s probably true, but he also missed out on solid relationships and love..  But upon setting foot back in his village, watching the roll of spliced together scenes of individuals embracing (all the censored parts of film he has been promised), it’s become clear for him again. His passion, love, and his meaning in life. That was really beautiful, and a perfect scene really. To me the director is trying to say that different things are important to different people and that human connection and success are serious commitments that require sacrifices, but also that each are no less than the other.

To me, the film overall is simply “ok” but there are so many notable instances in the films that on their own evoke a lot of emotion. I’ve mentioned most of my favourites already but there’s one more.cp5cp4 Alfredo showing Toto “magic”(using a mirror), how the director showed this part was simply magical. Letting the camera follow the path of the projection until it ended up on the wall of a building far away. I loved that. On the topic of change, another interesting thing is how romance and gender roles have changed since then. Back then, the role of women was a lot closer to nice things to be procured (this is putting it crudely), the main part of their lives consisting of mainly effort directed to pleasing men. This is quite annoyingly obvious in the film where almost all female characters are supplementary. They’re just there to move the story along, defined by their relationship to the men in the film (but I do realise it’s period accurate so…). Back to the point, it’s really quite amazing how things have changed, like the gender roles, equality and whatnot. But to me, the most intriguing part is how romance has changed.

it makes me shiver. they barely even know each other. it's a little insulting that all he's going on is attraction

It’s very stereotypically romantic and all, but at this point,they had barely interacted and knew almost nothing about each other, which makes it seem purely based on superficial attraction (at least it seemed like it). In movies it’s sort of different because the characters in this case are “meant for each other”, but in real life?

On the romance side, i think i actually blame the internet and media in general, a little bit. Hear me out. Because of all the readily available information and etc, we become more aware of things and in a way much more self-conscious and question everything we do. This is good i guess, because it does mean we’re taking a lot more into consideration. But in a way, it makes it harder, and I kind of feel for guys a little bit. A lot of us are very guarded nowadays, we fear being hurt or hurting others. I would describe the current trend as anxious-avoidant. Also, a lot of romantic lines (usually about attractiveness) have now been dubbed creepy. From one point, it makes it seem as though its solely based on looks which sounds horrible, but from another point, it’s a way to get closer and to find out more about a person. Because the first thing we may see about a person, is actually their looks. Still, brings about a lot of awkward uncomfortableness and etc. During romantic parts in films in general, the ones we’ve watched in class (there happen to be quite a lot), my friend would always groan and cover her eyes and express distaste for it. It’s all very strange. She’s done that for literally every single romantic gesture in all the films we’ve watched. Wish I could explain it better, but I hope you sort of get what I mean.

this was by far my favourite.

this was by far my favourite.

Also, gosh, the soundtrack! It’s so amazing watching all this films and realising these were the origins of the music scores I listened to. Music plays such a huge role in evoking and tying emotions to the film honestly. And maybe it was just me, but I do think part of the nostalgia I felt from the film was mainly because of the soundtrack. – Melodramatic music like this actually has been found to increase likability of characters and also confidence in the character’s thoughts. In a way, this sounds very manipulative, the idea that we may think a film is good or like a certain character just because of the influence of the soundtrack. hmmm, food for thought – My mom, an avid fan of Josh Groban (I swear, she would marry him if she could) always played his cover of the main theme of the movie (the opera sing-y versions of course). Like before with Chariots of Fire, I never realised these songs actually came from movies. It’s really cool witnessing it in its origins, the contexts they were meant for.


so cheeky

I think I was most taken by the young Toto’s (Salvatore Cascio) parts. His acting was so loveable and felt quite real. I did not really like the middle part of the movie. The romance parts somehow totally evaded me, so cheesy and just made me shiver, which brings me again to the perplexing thought of how perspectives on romance have changed (at least for me?.. or collectivistic conservative cultures). I watched a short film by WongFu recently on youtube (they’re really good, I’m sure you know) about how grand romantic gestures and stalking are basically the same thing, the only thing setting them apart: attraction. Seems kind of sad really. Such a fitting ending to the screenings in film class, a film about films. And now, our own screenings yikes! It’s childish and I am aware that “Fine” is the Italian version of “Fin” and “The End”, but it’s still hilarious when it pops up on screen. It’s as though the screen is mad at all of us and just wants to end the conversation with one final word of disapproval


now, some images of the film that have been recoloured. Just because they are very much visually pleasing. Recolouring and colour grading seems so magical to me honestly, it completely changes the tone of the film (i use the word completely in a very lightly here). It’s incredible, like some sort of art form. it has to be. I will learn how to do this one day. cp8 cp9

I’m sorry it got so long. I got very carried away. :I

Anyway, thanks for everything guys 🙂 you guys have been super helpful and everything and really fun to work with, learn from etc. 🙂 Had an awesome time. Hope you guys did too.


“La vita e bella”- Life is Beautiful (1997)

bp6 This may honestly be one of my favourite films to date, and also the only Italian film I’ve ever watched. For some reason, the whole holocaust thing seemed confined to just one area (yes, ignorance mmhmm) and I had never imagined it in any other context, much less in Italy.

I have so many feelings about this film, I’m having trouble articulating them into actual coherent sentences. It’s just mind-blowing really, how good it is.

Although at first, Guido seems like a very silly and ridiculous character, somewhat brushing off all the warning signs of the upcoming holocaust with humour. Everything that happens almost seem like unrealistic coincidences, and while they are to some effect, it is portrayed in a way where we realise he actually picks up on all these small details and mould them so they fit his insanely positive and dreamlike ideas of reality, with his quick wit and stubbornness. We see that he’s actually someone with a lot of foresight and also someone who has found a deeper meaning in life and is determined to live out his life according to that.

We expect his optimism to fade when he’s in the concentration camp, maybe this story is about how one must face the harsh realities of life. It doesn’t. Instead he tries even harder.



in the concentration camp

in the concentration camp

The enthusiasm never fades, only grows. This can be interpreted in two ways, one that he is completely disillusioned and prefers to live solely in his world where magical coincidences happen, or two, that he is an incredibly resilient father and husband who maintains his facades for the sake of his son. The latter brings me to the subject of protecting innocence (but we’ll get to that later). Obviously, I prefer the second. It’s not that he doesn’t realise the situation he’s in and is ignorant of it, it’s just that he realises the importance of other things, like to satisfy his meaning in life in relation to his wife and son… and another thing, for love. (ngawsshhhhhh <3) We see this time and time again where he shapes situations into something better for his wife and child, displaying great bravery as well. For instance, when he was a waiter at the camp, he noticed a gramophone and started broadcasting a song for his wife, even though she may not hear it, even though he may be caught and punished.

the last thing he does for his son

the last thing he does for his son

We see this to a greater effect in relation to Giosue (Joshua) his son. He creates crazy elaborate alternate realities for his son to shield him from the horrors of the current situations, twisting the concentration camp horrors into a game where the winner gets a tank. While this may be bad in the long run, one can understand why he would do so, although the lengths he goes to is a little insane sometimes. For some reason, maybe evolutionary or just out of love, people are inclined to go to great lengths to protect the innocence of children. In this case, he hides his own fears, masking it with an overdone sense of joy for his child.

However, there are instances where despite this, I feel, Giosue does know something is up. It’s not really obvious but we do see a sort of realisation in his eyes, but his love and admiration for his dad helped him go with it. Despite the corniness, it’s amazing what love can make people do. This made the scene where the tank coincidentally appeared more impactful. It’s like, a final thing that Guido could not have in any way planned.

his faith in his dad is restored in its fullness blah

his faith in his dad is restored in its fullness blah

I read this study once which was interesting, about how just thinking about childhood, good or bad, invokes the idea of innocence and promotes prosocial behaviour (ok, it’s quite unrelated to this, but it’s really an interesting study ahaha).

It almost seems like he doesn’t realise the gravity of his situation as he looks almost deliriously happy while he’s in the camp. But he does, and these are one of the instances where we actually see his facade drop. We watch as he realises what happening, like when he first sets foot into the camp room and etc. his facade drops and we see the real person. bp12 As many others will probably say, it’s quite amazing how such a dark event can be portrayed alongside such humour and comedy. It’s even more amazing that he manages to do so without making a mockery of the event and while the humour is present throughout, we still see the darkness the holocaust brings (subtly, but isn’t that always lovely? :D) For instance, even through the lightness of the first half, we see hints of the eventual holocaust, such as the facism perpetuated by shop owners, the green horse, the math questions in school.

educating the children about superiority and fascism

educating the children about superiority and fascism

But we see Guido sort of fighting the system, trying to educate the kids in a fascist classroom using his humour, showing us his political stance right from the start. In a way that makes him look silly, and yet he’s not. He speaks the truth, about superiority in a way young kids can understand, and it is there we realise he’s actually much more than just a ridiculous person. He’s actually well aware of the happenings, but chooses not to focus on them in their negativity.

*insert bad word here*

*insert bad word here*

“Fat, fat, ugly, ugly, all yellow in reality.

If you ask me what I am, I answer ‘quan, quan, quan’.

Walking along, I go ‘poo poo’.

What am I? Tell me true.”

Guido’s reaction to that riddle is just… heartbreaking and one can imagine why. In a time where he has to lie to his son on a daily basis, making the holocaust seem like an amazing reality, this doctor has the audacity to come to him asking for his help, even saying “help me, I can’t sleep at night because of this”. Ughhhh. The triviality of the doctor’s “problems”, if it can even be called that, is just infuriating. Although the doctor does nothing overtly terrible, he treats everyone sort of with respect etc., his acceptance/ ignorance to whatever is happening to the Jews at that time/ his absence of guilt is just…. The doctor’s character to me symbolises how the holocaust is perpetuated by people. Some actively participate (cognitive dissonance yadda yadda) but a large majority of good seeming people… they simply stood by and accepted the happenings. This actually reminded me of the mayor’s suicide in Mississippi Burning, anyone who lets these things happen is just as guilty as the facists who pull the trigger.

Although this instance is enough to explain Guido’s expression of sad realisation and disbelief, there’s actually more to it. The answer to the riddle (by a Nazi) is actually, yeah, “a Jew”. And now, it makes sense, the yellow, the degrading description ( also, ‘quan’ is spelt as ‘coin’ in italian, referring to money).

Silence is the most powerful cry,

is it really? I don’t know.

they were safe

they were safe


The Bravest Warriors.

The bravest warriors to me, are well, they’re like the courageous  battlers, our parents. The movie we watched talked about this a lot. it’s essentially about 4 kids who are in space and their relationships with each other as well as the roles they have to take on after the loss of their parents in the see-through zone.

One of the main relationships I’d like to focus on is that of the girl and her father. Appearing quite authoritarian, as he expects a lot from her we see her always treating him with respect and complying to his demands, even when it’s against her principles. I’m talking about Beth and her dad, Ralph Waldo Pickle Chips, who has become completely estranged and very much insane after he got lost in the see-through zone and became a servant of the Aeon Worm (never doubt the worm). We see how she deals with the loss (sleeping with her paralysed horse) and how she deals with his toxic alliance to the worm.

danny, beth, wallow, chris and robochris

danny, beth, wallow, chris and robochris

hella good coping.

hella good coping.

The show also highlights incorrect coping abilities and dealing with problems using terms like “THROW A BLANKET OVER IT!” to hide them from their problems. Another example is how Danny dealt with Jellykid’s death, almost developing a split personality to replace Jellykid.



One of the characters I found most interesting was actually Danny, just because he seems so confident and happy all the time, despite his childhood where he was bullied and forced to throw up on everything by Hans Christian Teet Phanters, the leader of the hacker gang.

that's hans christian teet phanters up there in the control tower and young danny puking on his grammy. :I

that’s hans christian teet phanters up there in the control tower and young danny puking on his grammy. :I

He never seems to let anything get him down for long. His childhood experiences also probably gave him his drive to succeed, allowing him to create a time machine and to go back to tell his younger self some useful advice.



He’s also optimistic even when he’s surrounded by the space chickens and his eyelids have been seared off saying “I’ feel as fresh as the Dicken’s!”. He does however have some problems controlling his moop, but he’s going for moop management classes so at least, he’s taking the first step towards recovery ( to admit your problems).

well, let me just end with this.




This must’ve confused you guys so much hahahaha.

i did the proper post about last week’s movie “parenthood” it’s the post right before this one so please check that out alright?

😀 please don’t hate me or minus my marks. know that I am eternally grateful for your reading my posts and grading us and everything. Muchos gracias hombres. Also it wasn’t meant to be this long, but I got a little carried away ahaha :I ok. (done in 10 minutes at 11.40am) and don’t judge me too much, i couldn’t think of anything more ridiculous than this. We just felt like we had to do something for April Fools this year hahaha

i now question my choices in relax-time shows…yeah ok.


Parenthood (1989)


I still find this incredibly hilarious. We'll see, if I want to punish my child in the future, I'm going to name him/her Cankersore. Whatup Cankers! ok maybe not.

I still find this incredibly hilarious. We’ll see, if I want to punish my child in the future, I’m going to name him/her Cankersore. “Whatup Cankers!” ok maybe not.

If it wasn’t already glaringly obvious from the title, the movie was about parenting and all the struggles that come with it. Each parent in the movie had different styles of parenting, namely neglect (Gil’s younger bro and his father), authoritarian (Nathan, it was very interesting seeing this in a Western context for some reason), permissive (Helen) and authoritative (Gil?). I quite liked how the movie managed to stay so light and jokish while sending all these messages. One of the main ones I felt was when Keanu Reeves (I KNOW RIGHT? WHAT?!) said…

Keanu Reeves. HOMIGOD

whoa, bro. tha’s deep.

It’s true though isn’t it, something so important and yet. Parenthood.. There’s no manual.. It’s almost like throwing someone in the deep end of the pool and asking them to learn to swim.

Just watching how he says it gives you an idea of life at his home, look at that sadness… I like this Tod Higgin’s character. Although he seemed like a bum at first, he turned out to be one of the most interesting characters in the film. He was suddenly thrown into the role as the man of the family, and while he still made some bad decisions, he played the role well (the way he treats Garry, talks to Helen). Despite Helen’s obvious negative reactions to him in the beginning, he’s still civil and accepting to her, the way he speaks to her when they’re alone. And then there’s Garry, struggling in a family of women, because of a lack of strong paternal figure in his life. He basically retreats into himself, maybe because of shame and confusion about his roles, puberty etc. It’s quite sad to watch actually, but thankfully it gets better as more stable characters enter his life like Mr Reeves here and the bio teacher.

Helen is another interesting character. Despite her permissive parenting style, letting her kids slam the door in her face and etc., She actually tries to understand her kids instead of simply cutting them off because of their bad decisions. It doesn’t really work all the time, and there are times where she seems to get frustrated and becomes quite ambivalent (especially when she kicked her daughter out and immediately switched back to caring parent). This is understandable as parenting does bring with it many stressors, especially in a family like hers where everything seems to happen so suddenly (Julie and Tod marrying, the pregnancies etc), maybe because of poor communication within the family unit.

It’s not really obviously portrayed but I felt like the movie was trying to tell us that even with all the different parenting styles, even if it wasn’t good, if it hurt you or anything, you can still get out of it and become a better person, which is just kinda nice as opposed to the other stuff we read about this. Tod and Gil turned out pretty well despite their neglectful (I assume) parents.

“my whole life is ‘have to'” – Gill Buckman

One of my favourite dialogues in the movie. I feel it really captures the struggles of parenthood… and midlife crises very well. Made me think about my mom and all she’s gone through raising me, I’m not the easiest child, I eat peanut butter.. FROM THE JAR. oh yes (we got a bad ass over here). All jokes aside though, it made me wonder if she had ever gone through this feeling before. One thing I always hear about parenthood is the worry that seems to just come with it. We see this in Susan quite a lot, how she looks at her child with concern. Can you imagine waking up everyday preset with this worry? not just when they’re sick, unhappy etc. As a parent (or even us now actually) its almost in their job description, to worry about us even when we’re not doing anything particularly harmful, like watching tv. I see the looks mom gives me sometimes when she thinks I’m not paying attention and even then, I see the concern. I mean it’s not to say I don’t worry about her or just seems different that’s all.


everyone has their own problems, each living as much of vivid life as you are.

Another thing, it’s easy to forget that parents are also their own people. I don’t know about you, and i’m a little embarrassed to admit it but I do look at my mom, as well, my mom. Which sounds terrible because that’s almost as though her sole existence is dedicated to being my mom.  That’s horrible, I’m sorry mommy. I didn’t mean it that way.

Often, (again, maybe it’s just me) we look at adults, our elders in general, thinking like “boy, they’ve got everything figured out”.  I read something somewhere, a realllly long time ago, so I can’t trace it back or articulate it properly. But basically, it went along the lines of  “no one ever really grows up. People don’t reach a certain age and suddenly have it all together or figured out. They just learn to take things as it goes and learn from mistakes.. over time, it gets easier “. Watching Parenthood really reminded me of that. Even though they are all parents, they’re still figuring things out, and every now and then, we see glimpses of who they were in their past. That little kid who never really wanted to grow up (or not, ya know). I’m looking at you, Cowboy Gill.


It’s also so interesting how different the children in each family are… I think the kid’s name is Patty? Penny or something? but anyway, she was just really adorable. One of the parts in the movie that really got to me was when she looked at the other kids having fun and jumping around, and she just couldn’t comprehend how what they were doing could be fun. That was just,’s almost as if she skipped over her entire childhood. Imagine not just being unable to relate to anyone in your age group but also unable to even understand them at all, how sad that must be…

I actually love how the movie started, with little Gill at the stadium talking to an usher, telling the usher how he was a representative of all the ushers he had spent the games with over the years, instead of his father. LOVED IT and I felt that it really gave us an idea of who Gill was as a person. An individual although raising kids of his own, still nagged by his past with his father. A heavy feeling hovering over him everyday, unresolved. It made the scene where Frank goes to see him for advice just that much more meaningful. They both came clean, revealed their secrets. ahhh lovely.


i still like the part where he kept walking into the wall like a video game character hahaha Karen: He likes to butt things… with his head. Nathan: How proud you must be.

Everyone’s probably seen this already but meh, it reminded me of it and it’s still a really good ad.

*shivers man* NASTYYYY

*shivers man* NASTYYYY, but gosh, still hilarious. To think this dude is Neo in the Matrix.


“おくりびと” (okuribito) – Departures (2008)

death …is a gateway. Death doesn’t mean the end, but leaving present, heading for the next stage. Truly a gateway. As a gatekeeper, I’ve seen off many people. “Have a nice trip, see you again”, I would say.

I’ve always known that respect was a large part of the Japanese culture (or most Asian cultures) but somehow, I’m always left in awe when I witness Japanese ceremonies (tea ceremonies, weddings etc.). I’m especially in awe of this one because of the deep significance and meaningfulness of this ritual. Everything is handled with such grace, precision, gentleness and class. The amount of care put into sending the person off is incredible.. I’ve always thought that encoffinning/ preparing the body (especially in the Western context, seen in movies) was quite.. for lack of a better word, violating. The bodies lie naked on a steel table while they replace their blood with embalming fluid, cleaning the body etc. In contrast, we see, in this movie, how the encoffinners (I may not be spelling that correctly.. I’m sorry if this pains you, please don’t make up a song about it hahaha) take extra care to ensure relatives, as well as the encoffinners themselves do not see these … private-er parts. The way the remove clothing, put on clothing, everything is done with so much grace it’s almost beautiful.


It just fascinates me really – no matter how morbid this sounds – the beauty of the ritual. Its roots are in Shinto and Bhuddism, and as expected there are so many more things about it. I tried to find information on why each step is performed, the cupping of the face and hands, moving the hands of the deceased in a certain pattern before placing them back on the chest.. but such information eludes me for now. I did however find out why the undertakers asked Daigo to wet his father’s lips. This is called matsugo no mizu (last moment’s water), and it is done in preparation for revival in Yomi, the land of the dead. I also liked the way Sasaki (I think, Daigo’s boss) said that he was giving the deceased their first bath in their new life.

One of the few things I realised from the movie (they are actually really basic things, things that we all realise whenever tragedy in general strikes)

1. it reminds us to appreciate life for all that it is, to take care of what is important to us before it’s too late AND 2. death is unifying

d20 death unifies us

The scene where Daigo pries open (that is such an ugly way to describe it lol) his father’s hands to reveal the stone letter he gave him as a child. It was sort of predictable, but no matter, the effect is still there, as it always is with instances like these. Don’t let it be too late. Even though the movie portrayed this in a way that Daigo was still able to give his father a honorable send off and etc., a sense of reconcilliation through death where all secrets are exposed… It gave me the idea that that act somehow makes everything ok, like that was enough… i’m not explaining this properly haha sorry! it made me think about how people seem to congregate together after deaths, through rituals etc. We’re reminded that everyone is mortal, we’re all fallible and we’re all the same in the end.

Slightly off tangent, but I loved the way his father’s face was blurred in his earlier childhood flashback. It really hit the point very well. Although the emotions were still there, there’s a gaping hole in Daigo’s memory of his father.

3. all roles are important, regardless of the stigma associated with it

The idea of death itself is terrifying, that’s why we have all sorts of negative ideas and theories about death and dying (ie; terror management theory etc.). We try to avoid it, despite the fact that it is inevitable. We see this in the movie too, how everyone thinks death is unclean, how everyone somewhat shuns Daigo when they realise what his profession is. It’s so ironic. The huge role the profession plays in helping people come to terms with the departing of their loved ones, and how everyone seems to look down on it. It’s only when someone close to them actually dies before they realise the importance of the profession. Much respect.

4. although death is quite similar in every culture, the way people deal with it is incredibly different (based on context, culture, expectations etc.)

I like how the movie had a sort of montage of all their clients. We share the intimate moment that is their deaths, witness their family’s grief… The only gist we get of the deceased as a person being the lone photo of them in their life, smiling. Yet, that’s enough to evoke feelings of empathy and etc. We also see how death is different within the same culture. For most it’s grievous, causes for blame and anger. For others, it’s a celebration.. This all dependent on context of course. It also showed Kubler-Ross’s stages of death, anger, denial, acceptance etc pretty well.

What of my death?

Hopefully, that will be much later in the future. But I hope I will have done something to be proud of. I don’t want there to be silence at my funeral. I don’t want others to feel pain or to grieve over a death. I’d rather they think about life and happier moments, hopefully there would be some. There’s this Japanese film (animation) “Summer Wars” where an old grandmother dies peacefully in her sleep. Her funeral brought everyone together and she was celebrated, it was a happy affair. It’s a lot to wish for and it will take a lot of work, but I’d like to think mine would be something like that.

6. the old and the new 

There’s a part in the movie where the undertakers try to rush the casketting of Daigo’s father. I felt this was a clear illustration of how modernisation is destroying a little bit of tradition. Death has become an inconvenience, a disruption in everyday life.

It also reminded me of the idea that we all yearn for something simpler, like in “Dances with Wolves”. Daigo went off to seek better things, off to the city, going abroad. But things did not meet his expectations, his job he had worked and invested so much in was ripped away suddenly and he also missed spending time with his mother as well as her funeral. Modern life did not meet his expectations. Coming back to his roots, accidentally landing a simple enough job requiring no skills (as said) tending to the deceased and finally tending to his father in death.. Dealing with death brought him a sense of peace and a deeper meaning in life.

7. finalities (poignant farewells)

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that look.

I haven’t been to many funerals, mom considers it taboo and often leaves me at home. So far, I’ve only been to one and as terrible as it sounds, I just felt numb the whole time. I didn’t know what to feel. It was for a boy my age who I’d spent a lot of time with as children but had drifted apart from. He’d had an aneurism and passed away. At the funeral, I just did what everyone else did, like a drone with a specific set of instructions. I just felt so guilty because I couldn’t really remember him at all. The entire funeral to me was just a blur and I cannot imagine how his family and friends must have felt. Ill never forget the look on their faces when they looked into the coffin. The scene where the husband looks at his wife one last time, all made up and serene, before closing the door and sliding her into the crematorium really got to me. The movie captured that really well. The final farewell.

Overall, the movie started off pretty slow paced and sometimes it felt like too many things were happening at once, like the director wanted to try too many things. But I think the overall effect was still achieved, so that’s good. The second half of the movie was particularly moving, as we see Daigo get used to death and even deal with that of his estranged father’s.

Irrelevantly, watching these movies made me think about the obvious difference in cultures, even the way they shoot movies, techniques used etc. The overall feel is just so different. We’re all probably pretty used to Western movies so when we watch movies from other cultures such as Japan’s, it just feels very different. Not that Western movies aren’t artful, they are (deviate for a bit while I talk about Hannibal the tv series. Watch it a little, it starts very slow but it gets really good after a while. In that, as do many movies, the aesthetic quality of almost every single frame is taken into consideration, from colour, positioning, composition etc. It’s beautiful, but in a very different sense from the beauty we see in movies from other cultures like Japan’s), it’s just a very different type of artful. I’ve only watched a few Japanese movies (animations and real life ones), like Midnight Sun, Paprika and Studio Ghibli Films in general. The style is just so very different from the ones we see in Western movies. I can’t explain it, it just is. 

I maintain that anything with strings, ESPECIALLY the cello, or the double bass, in the background just immediately becomes more epic and meaningful. There’s just something about the deep, rich tones the vibrato.. *melts*

listen. < music from Departures. (i’m not forcing anyone to watch this, but ya know, i’m just saying, that this would be lovely to have as background music as you do your homework – ie; reading our tedious blogposts. danke shun :D)

okay, I’m out.


When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

I literally cant stop singing that in my head whenever i type it out. I don’t say it, i sing it, “when a mannn loves a wommaannn..” and then the rest is just a blurred up jumble of sounds.


The movie is about a man who loves a woman, one does all he can think of to help her, even though it isn’t exactly what she needs at the time. .. and alcoholism. Mainly a lot about alcoholism. The title is VERY misleading.

It’s quite interesting, how we see others. How we try to give them what we think they want or need. and how sometimes our guesses may be completely off. As it is in this movie. Like, Michael, dealing with Alice’s alcoholism (her recovery actually) is lost, the one who he’s been accustomed to protecting is suddenly not needed. She’s recognising that she needs to take control, to stop being so dependent.. and that scares him.We do see several times in the movie, small instances where, obviously you can still tell they love each other but they’re all undercut with a little of that whole “you can’t do this” sentiment. Like when he belittles her in the morning when she is yelling at Jess. It’s not very obvious then because it does look like she is going to far, so when Michael steps in, you think yea ok. But the way he does it is almost like “it’s ok. ignore her, she’s just like this, makes no sense”. And he does it so nonchalantly too. Putting myself in Alice’s shoes, I see how that would feel completely ugh.. that I just don’t matter, I’m incapable of doing anything.


I liked how the movie portrayed frustration within relationships (haha that sounds really terrible actually, though this can be applied to relationships in general, not just romantic ones, which is cool). The frustration, where neither one knows what is needed, or what works. I found that to be very real, it really was portrayed really well. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings, to know something is wrong but not know what it is. And also that feeling that there has to be something we can do, just that we don’t know it. Because the alternative is that we can’t do anything about it and that it’s just stuck like this, which is much scarier. I really feel Michael went through this last one in the movie and gosh, I really empathised with that.

I like what Dr Goh said about the whole “she still looks generally the same, but so different inside that when he tries to resume things as it was, it doesn’t really work”. ok so maybe he didn’t really say it like that but it was something along those lines. Like having an expectancy things will revert to normal, even if they clearly won’t. So when he treats her the same way as he did in the past and she’s furious, he has no idea what’s happening and can’t accept that. She on the other hand can’t seem to fathom his misunderstandings, which is sadly quite close to real life. We often assume others  have a generally similar way of thinking as we do, and when we find out it’s not how it is, we get a little (or a lot) frustrated.

It reminds ms of this french word, “gnossienne” or something. what it basically means is the realisation that regardless of the closeness you feel to another individual, physically, emotionally, mentally etc., there are still parts of them that you won’t ever understand or know, just because you are not them... if that makes sense.

It also reminded me how we try to be consistent with people. Like how we see others after a really long time and we pick up where we left off. Even if that self is not who we are now, or even if they’re different, but just who we were when we were with that person. It’s so interesting how meeting people from your past can do that. It’s like a sudden bubble of the past that you become submerged in when you meet these people. So cool.

I also thought about how hard it is to truly show those closest to you how you feel. Like in “Eat drink man woman”, Chu found it so hard to express his true feelings to his daughters and vice versa. Here, we see how both Alice and Michael are so frustrated but find it so hard to express it, even with the help of a counsellor. Even though you love them so very much, it’s just a little weird to show them who you are, maybe because of habit… which is weird because if you aren’t really true to yourself 100% of the time, this’ll make it hard for you to acknowledge your own faults and then do what it takes to grow and move past them. Then again, I can’t help but to think of all the times in my life where I behave differently with others and hide certain parts of myself, especially the good parts like happiness and joy, out of habit. Which is a little sad (i hope this makes sense).

Another thing, just a random thought. It’s weird how time passes in the movie-verse… it basically doesn’t. (i’m sorry i sound ridiculous.but i can’t articulate this into proper sentences. it’s basically just a feeling of awe at some really normal thing I guess) Everyone is just frozen in that point of time, doomed to replay their entire lives exactly as it is when someone hits the play button. Sometimes I wonder if our lives are actually like that, if that’s what hell actually is.. no fiery pit or anything, just us, reliving our worst moments over and over again, being unable to anything about it each time. (well that took a dark turn haha, i guess that’s a sign that I should go to sleep, yes, well ok)

The portrayal of alcoholism in the movie, to me, was quite good actually. Let’s just look at some screenshots with words on them to illustrate this point.

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It really reminds us of their perspective in a way, what they’re going through. Although a lot of this kind of apply to low self-esteem instances, which most of us have. So that’s pretty interesting.

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Tina Majorino

Tina Majorino

I’ve seen her quite a lot on tv, Veronica Mars, P!NK’s F*cking Perfect video.. Gosh, I have never seen her this young before, and I never knew she was such a great actress. Her acting was just amazing, and she was so young too.

she’s so sassy

And also, the thing about watching all these old movies, when you recognise someone, they always look so young, and for some reason Im always blown away like this. I mean sure, I understand the concept of human development, you start young and you grow older, you’re not just suddenly born a 30 year old. But somehow, n the world of movies, I’m always just completely wow-ed when I see an actor/ actress that I know in their younger days. I’ts just SO different haha. Like, Amy (the babysitter) whose actress plays a character in Supernatural. I’m also pretty sure she was on Friends at some point…

On a completely irrelevant note, there is a mosquito in my room and it’s bitten me so many times that i’m sitting here typing with one hand while the other scratches all over. I want it to die.