Libmonster ID: TR-1225

WHAT DOES A FILM MADE ALMOST A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO TEACH US TODAY?

E. A. IKONNIKOVA

Doctor of Philological Sciences

T. K. PAVLOVA

Postgraduate student Sakhalin State University

Keywords: Ermek Sh inarbayevAnatoly Kimmovie "Revenge"national color, Korean culture, moral rebirthability to forgive

In May 2010, the 1989 film "Revenge"by Kazakh director Ermek Shinarbayev was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The picture, which previously existed on ordinary film, was now shown in digitized form. This opportunity was created thanks to the World Cinema Foundation*, which included "Revenge" in the list of cinematic masterpieces.

Today, this film is almost forgotten and almost unknown to a new generation of moviegoers. Meanwhile, it was and remains, among its other advantages, a good illustration of the culture and life of Korea at the beginning of the XX century. and, as it may not seem strange, extremely relevant. Perhaps it is even more relevant than in the year of its creation-almost a quarter of a century ago.

The author of the script for "Revenge" is Anatoly Kim, a writer known not only in Russia, but also abroad, primarily in the East - in Korea and Japan. He wrote works of various genres: short stories and parables, novellas and novels, children's stories and poems, plays and screenplays. At the Kazakhfilm film studio, several films were shot based on the writer's scripts. One of them - the film "Revenge" - Anatoly Kim called "Korean", although the plot and idea of this work far outgrow the national framework. The duo of film director E. Shinarbayev (b. 1953) and writer A. Kim (b.1939) revealed the talent of the former and showed new facets of the artistic skill of the latter.

Often a book based on which a particular film is made is perceived more emotionally, it seems more interesting than its film adaptation. Viewers often expect a complete similarity between the original and its screen version, forgetting that a feature film is a different work of art than a literary one, which should be perceived differently. And since such expectations do not always come true, they are disappointed with the film adaptation. However, this film did not disappoint anyone.

"Revenge" is the third joint work of E. Shinarbayev and A. Kim. The first two films are "My Sister Lyusya" (1985) and "Come out of the forest to the clearing" (1987).

The film "Revenge" is based on Anatoly Kim's short story of the same name from his debut collection "Blue Island" (1976). In the cinematic version, fragments of his short stories "Seasonalists" and "Bride of the Sea"are also found. These three works that are completely different in plot and language are intertwined in an extremely organic way.

The film shows three homelands of the writer: actual (A. Kim was born in Kazakhstan), small (on Sakhalin passed the most memorable years of the author's life - his childhood and youth) and historical (the birthplace of his ancestors, who once found themselves in the Far Eastern lands of the Russian Empire in search of a better life). Filming was carried out in different places of the Soviet Union, with the participation of people of different nationalities. The film "Revenge", which connected the past with the present, became like a continuation of the writer's life itself - bright and extraordinary.

The film consists of seven short stories connected to each other by a single plot. All of them are combined by author's comments. The presence of an invisible narrator in the film gives it integrity and completeness. Cinematic novels


* This foundation (World Cinema Foundation) was established in Cannes in 2007 on the initiative of Martin Scorsese and other famous directors with the aim of "restoring the world heritage of cinema".

page 67

It is preceded by a prologue that reflects the main idea and idea of the work.

...The main events of the film unfold in one of the northern counties of the then united Korea at the beginning of the XX century. Schoolteacher Yang, in a fit of anger, kills his student, the only daughter of a peasant Tsai, with a sickle during a lesson. The father sets out to take revenge on the murderer of his child, but Jan has disappeared from school and town; a long search is not crowned with success. And then the aging Tsai takes as a concubine a young deaf-mute woman, who soon gives birth to his son - Sunga.

The time comes, and his father tells Sung about the true reason for his birth. "You were begged from fate only for revenge," Tsai says. The father casts a spell on the boy: "Until the Day when the just retribution is done, for which I have not had enough of my life, may you have no wife, no children, no happiness of your own, and no sorrow of your own. And if you don't do it, you won't fulfill your human destiny." This is how the life of a not yet mature Sungoo changes.

As an adult, the young man goes in search of Ian. And only many years later, on Sakhalin, he finds the home of his enemy-the killer of his sister. However, by this time Ian is no longer alive, so revenge is not destined to happen. Sungoo's tortured soul is relieved of a heavy sense of unfulfilled duty. For the first time in the 20 years that have passed since his father's spell, he, not yet an old man, wants to live, breathe deeply, love.

This is the summary of the film. However, the main action is preceded and completed by scenes from the distant past of Korea. These episodes are connected by a common plot.

...A powerful ruler has a son who is friends with a boy from the people. A warrior is assigned to the king's son, who must teach the child martial arts, make him invincible. Years pass. The heir to the throne, indeed, becomes a strong (and, at the same time, extremely cruel) person. And his childhood friend, who did not pass the "young fighter course", was a court poet. And at the same time - as if by the conscience of the new ruler who has taken his father's throne. Seeing the evil done by his childhood friend, he leaves the palace. No poetry is born in his soul when he hears the lamentations of those who are condemned to death by the ruler.

page 68

After 200 (!) years, the poet returns to earth in the guise of Sungu. At school, thanks to the efforts of a monk mentor, he wrote amazing poems, but his passion for poetry disappears when his father casts a revenge spell on a nine-year-old boy.

An important role in the film is played by shots showing a turtle, at the call of nature, tending to the sea. Heading towards the goal, the turtle overcomes many obstacles. Its perseverance is nothing but the will to live, to achieve the highest goal that nature has set for itself. A young man leaves his homeland and goes to Sakhalin. There he gets a job at a sawmill and finds himself very close to the house of the abuser of his family. But he is not a turtle, but a human, and therefore the fulfillment of his father's will, the path of revenge becomes painful for Sungoo. And the news of Ian's death brings relief to his tortured soul.

Meanwhile, Ian's life wasn't easy either. Fear and expectation of revenge drive him first to China, and then to distant islands. Now living in the Kuril Islands, now on Sakhalin, Yang wants to forget about the crime committed, tries to believe that with Tsai's death, the revenge of the offended family also died. But Jan's whole life away from his native places is spent waiting for the terrible ending - violent death. His life ends ingloriously: he gets drunk and burns down in a dilapidated barn.

The silent and unrequited wife of Ian would like to save her husband, she shares with him all his suffering. But at the same time, they choose different life paradigms. Having once committed a terrible crime, Ian experiences suffering, is despised by children, but is not capable of action to atone for his sin. Jan's wife, on the other hand, directs all the forces of her spirit to heal sick children, she instills in their mothers feelings of hope and faith.

Retribution eventually catches up with Ian. And this is a terrible retribution. It is in the fear that has accompanied every day of his life. Ian is waiting for the hour of reckoning and under the yoke of this expectation, he cannot in his old age have a real home, a full-fledged family, in which there would be kind children, and he himself would enjoy the respect of the people around him. Having killed a child in anger, Jan punishes himself with terrible torments of conscience.

Music and light play a special role in Yermek Shinarbayev's film. Musical accompaniment sets off the oriental flavor of the picture. The monotonous sound of folk instruments sets the audience to escape from everyday reality, offering them to immerse themselves in the contemplation of a peculiar Korean way of life, traditional lifestyle and family relationships. The same goal is pursued by "interspersing" fragments of Korean speech in the film, and without translation. The melodious, measured Korean language perfectly reflects the unhurried rhythm of the life of the main characters, who are closely connected with their land, with the traditions of their people. However, at critical moments, in sharp plot twists, the music becomes louder and, as it were, more intense. Often it is even hard and painful to listen to, especially the melodies that accompany the scenes of the murder of a child, the moment when old Tsai gives his son the sickle-the murder weapon-and utters a spell and orders his son about future revenge. This is a true cry of the soul - both the characters of the film and its creators...

They help to reveal the main idea of the film... light and dark. In accordance with the director's vision, a bright light illuminates the characters ' faces at the moments when they make positive, deeply human decisions. And fog or just darkness on the screen appears at moments when the characters of the film are experiencing confusion, when it comes to grief, pressing on the soul and turning the heart to stone. Light and darkness seem to be in a state of eternal struggle. But, in the end, the light wins, warming the heart and mind of the main character - Sunga.

* * *

"Revenge" is a highly intellectual film with a powerful philosophical subtext, reflecting the moral imperatives of the East. The modern viewer will surely see in it a piercing thought that the age-old traditions of obligatory revenge for the committed evil are not an unshakable absolute; good and forgiveness will necessarily prevail if they are supported by reason and high morality, which live in the souls of the best people, no matter in what historical era they live.

This film belongs to those rare works of art whose relevance does not decrease with time, but, on the contrary, increases significantly.

What, if not in kindness and the ability to forgive past offenses, do participants in numerous conflicts need, the number of which is now constantly multiplying, and it is in the East! This applies equally to the Afghan Mujahideen, the Libyan Tuareg, the participants of the "orange" revolutions in Egypt and Syria, who are in a protracted confrontation with the Palestinians and Israelis.

It is a pity that almost none of them, most likely, saw the bright and life-affirming film of Kazakh cinematographers "Revenge". Who knows, maybe at least some of them would have changed their attitude towards revenge, which feeds most of the modern conflicts in the East.


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E. A. IKONNIKOVA, T. K. PAVLOVA, WHAT INSTEAD OF "REVENGE IN THE EAST"? // Istanbul: Republic of Türkiye (ELIBRARY.COM.TR). Updated: 24.01.2024. URL: https://elibrary.com.tr/m/articles/view/WHAT-INSTEAD-OF-REVENGE-IN-THE-EAST (date of access: 17.06.2024).

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