The Greencine Five, Part IX: Bounce Ko Gals, LOL, The Bow, Heimat, Black Snake Moan

It has been nearly two years since I was a member of Greencine. While the price is higher than NetFlix, Greencine has a much wider selection to choose from. Thus, even when I watch movies that are available on both NetFlix and Greencine, I discover more with Greencine, because the broader collection means that it is easier to follow one movie to another, and see webs of connections between movies. NetFlix and Greencine may both have the biggest hit from Korea in a year, for instance, but Greencine is more likely to have that director’s lessor work, as well.

bounce_ko_gals

Bounce Ko Gals is a story on two levels. On the first it is about Lisa, a Japanese-American about to leave Tokyo, and her adventures with teenage Japanese prostitutes. On another it is about generational change, and the way the “aesthetics” change over time. This is seen both in the relationship of the whores to pimps-and-customers, and also their mutual disilluionment with the dreams of generations born before them both.

lol

LOL has no plot. The story is weak, and the characters are unsympathetic. It looks remarkably like a senior project for an ambitious film school student. And it gets one thing person: what around means in a world where everyone has cell phones, text messaging, laptops, and internet access. After watching LOL, my wife and I caught each other engaging in some of the “bizarre” (to an earlier generation) behaviors depicted in the film.

the_bow

The Bow is very similar to Why Has the Bodhi-dharma Left for the East, which I earlier reviewed. However, while the Bodhi-dharma requires a great deal of patience in its slow moving story of a buddhist master and acolyte, The Bow has the good sense to introduce a love triangle. The story of an old man, young girl, and young man is told almost without dialog, though with heavily archery and buddhist symbolism. The film slowly moves from realism to magical-realism and ends with a quotation that helps explain the motivation of the old fisherman.

heimat_disk_2

I watched disk 1 of Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany two years ago. Disk 2 continues the story in two episodes, the first from the mid-1920s to 1933, and the third taking place in 1935. The first of these episodes pains a picture of a society very similar to the rural life in modern China. The second of these, in which the Nazi Party cements its grip by a thousand only vaguely interesting moves, chronicles the transformation of Germany from a dysfunctional republic to a tyranny.

black_snake_moan

If The Bow retells Why has the Bodhi-Dharma left for the East, Black Snake Moan retells the The Bow. The similarities are incredible. A three-way love triangle, a setting in an economic backwater (Korean fisherman, the American South), religious themes infuse both films. While The Bow is heavily buddhist, and preaches that the desire is the beginning of suffering, however, Black Snake Moan is Christian, and dwells on the need for grace given the presence of sin in all human beings.

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