Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tout Va Bien

Yesterday after class I rushed to Les Halles to meet Nadia for a seance, which sounds wonderfully creepy but it's really just the French way of saying we met for a matinee (uh, ironic, isn't it?). It was either Nadia or Chris (both cinephiles) who gleefully told me that there are 300 movies playing in this city at any time.

Nadia chose Time, the Kim Ki-Duk film. Talk about wonderfully creepy. We both didn't know much about it but she mentioned that it was a love story. Korean films aren't exactly subtle and it was immediately clear that it isn't a love story at all. The symbolism is pretty heavy-handed. It's about plastic surgery, and on a broader level, identity, both collectively and as an individual. I'm so glad I happened to see this because I've always been fascinated with the Korean obsession for plastic surgery, and it seems that Kim Ki-duk has a few things to say on the matter. Double-eyelid surgery is as common as getting a haircut with young Korean women, and what frustrates me is that there doesn't seem to be much critical thought about the situation. It's kind of like, "Don't you want to be prettier?" I don' t really know how to argue with self-improvement and I don't want to be patronizing and ethnocentric, but I just can't get down with all this facial self-mutilation. Whenever I see Korean movie stars and models, I don't see a pretty face - I see someone who paid a surgeon to cut up their eyes.

Anyway, the film was unsettling (there was plenty of plastic surgery gore, but the creepiest, most nightmare-inducing image involved a simple paper mask) and it stayed with me until this morning.

After class today, I made my way over to the Centre Pompidou for an afternoon of art avec Les Mesdames. The slight, yet continued revulsion continued at the Annette Messager exhibition. I realized that I kind of love being grossed-out, in a gallery atmosphere. There isn't a safer, more sterile environment than an art gallery, where the reality is that you stand there contemplating inanimate objects in a spacious building where everyone's expected to behave, but it's also where you can go through all kinds of feelings normally avoided in real life. Normally, I'm just into things that are cute or nice or soft. But in a safe space like an art gallery, I like being repulsed. It's a rush...and then you just kind of settle down after. Exciting!

One thing: I don't like dismembered body parts, which I think is pretty natural for obvious reasons, but my only question is WHY is there so much dismemberment in modern art? I've been doing the tourist thing for the past week and a half, visiting art from all periods so maybe that makes me especially sensitive to it. Still. I guess if I'd taken art history in school, I may have some better perspective, but that's one of many things the What If version of myself does in a parallel world. The Regular version of myself is about to sign off to devour some petits macarons. Merci bien a tout le monde. Hugs all around.

P.S. Yesterday I got to be partners with Tiny Nun in class. I will try and find out more about her to report back to you but for now, suffice to say she wears a habit to class and is adorable. Today our prof said, "AMEN!" when Italian Pelle Almqvist finally understood how to conjugate the Plus Que Parfait. Then she turned to Tiny Nun and apologized. This class is so much better than OAC French 15 years ago, when I was fifteen and scared, surrounded by grade 12 jocks who were taking it to get out of OAC level math.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home