October 20, 2005


Posted by Xun  |  No comments

5 minutes into the movie, I started complaining and disbelieving. Boring, phony. "This is not a movie. This is a play, a childish school play." The set is bare to none. Chalk drawn streets, bushes. A voice (a calm, slightly sarcastic one) droned over for the most part. A lanky, self-important fellow with an ambition in literature and philosophy walked around the stage of the supposedly small town served up most of the introduction.

Then 15 minutes into the movie, Grace, a beautiful fugitive who was fleeing from gangsters, stepped onto the stage. After some ridiculous town meetings, the little town sheltered her. In exchange, she offered her service, doing domestic chores, or babysitting children, or nursing old men, or comforting the lonely and blind. It still feels incredibly boring and cheaply sentimental. I cringed at the narration such as "... For the first time in her young life she take pride.", or Grace's exclamation about this "beautiful town amidst magnificent mountains." Thought this would be just a rosy but silly movie about a small town.

Then gradually, I lost track of time, I forgot to be clever and critize. I was drawn in by the dramatic story that turn by turn spiraled worse and worse in its development. (The characters still were talking big and heavy, as if they were all trained by literature academy). The affection and kindness shown by the town people earlier now became sour. They started exploiting Grace. Everyone becomes meaner. Women turned their envy into jealousness and abuse. Men moved onto her, raped and eventually turned her into a whore. Children were no more sweet innocent angels they are supposed to be, instead, they are hateful bullies. In an improbable plot, Grace was chained and enslaved.

It is shocking to see the level of evil unfold, the path to hell guised by the claimed self-righteous good intentions, the helpless on the side of both of victimizing and being victimized. It is disturbing to view the shamed pleasure taken by the males in using Grace as a whore, and Grace's numbing acceptance of her humiliation, sexual abuse and total abandonment on herself.


I think it is such a masterpiece, unlike any other. It as bare as honest as cynical as it can be. Later I learned the director von Dier also directed "Dancer in the dark", also a movie about a victimized heroin, also a stark dark movie about human innate evil, collective injustice. ...

Thursday, October 20, 2005
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