22 November 2014 | genevaashdene
Director's Beautiful Touch - an explanation of why there is no embrace in the last scene
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In memory of Director Kim Jong Hak (4th anniversary, 2016)
The place where the tree is located is small. The way the director filmed the scene with the two (Choi Yong and Eun Soo) apart gave it distance and made the place seemed bigger, thus the cinematography became epic. Even though they were not that far away from each other, we would feel that the distance was large. In the scene that we keep playing over and over in our minds, the more we want them to come together, and the fact that they just stand there staring at each other makes the distance between them feel like the distance is even greater and the place larger and thus the scene becomes epic.
They are far apart...
Many steps, many years, many lifetimes apart
The third element – a genius at work
The third element is the tension of expectation that something is going to happen, that which we know is going to happen and that we longed for but is actually not there - yet. We know the next frame is what we expect to happen. From an art history studies point of view, this is very Boroque. The third element in the Boroque painting style is the missing part that is the next moment, that which is not in the painting but in the viewer's mind as an expectation and is often dramatically different from what is visible in the painting. This adds depth to the scene as there is a third element in the two dimensional plane. The expectation of a dramatic change to the whole scene makes the scene more emotionally moving and it leaves the viewer a more lasting impression. It evokes a lot more emotion from the viewer because the next moment is elusive. It keeps you thinking and longing for the next moment that follows the scene you are viewing.
They will come together. The third element...
And because of this third element and the epic scenery, the film reel in our minds will play it over and over - that they were apart but would come together in a very epic and dramatic way. They were finally close, but apart, or they were apart, but would come together. The last scene makes the viewer feel what Choi Yong and Eun Soo had felt in all those lifetimes, years and steps apart.
I appreciate what the director had done for the ending. Anyone can do a kissing and hugging scene for the ending. But the director did something extraordinary - powerful, epic, emotional and lasting. He made us feel the frustration, the surprise, the longing, the faithfulness, the patience, the sadness, the joy, the gratefulness, and much more - all the emotions that went through the two characters - all in but one scene. How else would we feel everything that the two characters feel? How else could we have such strong feelings and a long-lasting memory of the story that the director told? That is an unexpected and ingenious way to sum it up and end it for in this way, with the third element at work, it never ends.
And this never-ending and looping element is also another theme of the story - how many lifetimes of these two diverged and converged? Based on faith and love?
Have you wondered why to this day you still talk about the story, still have strong feelings for the character and still want to view it over and over again? This is why. The third element at work.
That was a genius at work. That was beautiful. That was his touch which touched my heart. And I discovered this at the tree.