Jules Does

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Sometimes growing up is hard. You learn new things about yourself and the world, things that mean you often have to revise what you thought was ok or good in the light of new information. This can be a good thing, a pleasant thing which makes you appreciate the things you’ve loved better. Alternatively, as so often happens, we find out something unpleasant that makes us reconsider our fave. We can behave in several ways here.

1. Reject the new, unpleasant information and go about your day, believing what you’ve always believed in an unproblematised way.

2. Absorb the unpleasant information and reject everything you liked about the thing you loved.

3. Find a way to reconcile the two.

In some cases, Number 3 isn’t possible. However, we must do our very best not to let scrupulousness stain our enjoyment of things that gave us pleasure – it is still possible to believe certain things deeply while also loving things that might conflict with that belief. This cognitive dissonance is how many of us get through our daily lives with anything like enjoyment.

Case in point: The Princess Bride. If you haven’t seen this movie, I am basically begging you to find a copy and watch it. It is maybe the best movie ever, and it’s family friendly (with the exception of one word towards the end) and generally utterly beautiful and thrilling – swordfights! giants! true love! Come back when you’ve seen it and we can talk.

The plot of The Princess Bride revolves around Buttercup (played by Robin Wright, the best actress ever), a beautiful girl living on a farm in the country of Florin, and Westley (Cary Elwes), a farm boy who works on her farm and loves her, always saying ‘As you wish’ to her requests, while secretly meaning ‘I love you’. *Siiiiiiiigh* However, the lovers’ relationship is complicated when Westley goes to sea to seek his fortune and is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves captives alive. Buttercup then becomes engaged to the loathsome Prince Humperdinck, but who are these strange people trying to stop the wedding? And who is that man in black? The plot is related by a grandfather, who is reading the story as a book to his poorly grandson (don’t worry, it’s just run-of-the-mill illness, not some horrible disease).

First things first: I adore this movie. I genuinely believe it might be one of the most perfect films ever made. Much of that is down to the fact that The Princess Bride, along with Beauty and the Beast and My Fair Lady, formed a cornerstone of my childhood film consumption,  and why not? Beautiful people, dashing men, swordplay, a great deal of humour and some really excellent lines combine to create a gorgeous story about love, and who wouldn’t love that? Westley may also have been my first crush, although I earnestly believed that he wasn’t actually a real person, but a Disney Prince come to life (I still kind of stand by this).

Tell me I’m wrong.

However, from a feminist standpoint, the film is far from perfect. Much of this is, predictably, connected with the portrayal of its titular character, Buttercup. Read the rest of this entry »

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This week was a bit different – unfortunately I was ill this weekend and couldn’t go to K-Pop Academy! I saw the photos of my fellow classmates promoting the London Korean Film Festival and felt even more sorry for myself than was necessary. It looked like fun – wandering around Leicester Square accosting strangers and spreading the good word about all the awesome films they can see between the 6th and 21st of November.

Shown here: happy-go-lucky scamps.

But I couldn’t just sit here doing nothing, so instead I thought I’d get into the spirit of the festival and talk a little bit about the history of Korean cinema and the part that cinema plays in Korean culture. As always, if I am wrong about any of this please do correct me in the comments.

Read the rest of this entry »