Ebene News – AU – Small glories: “Minari”

There’s an old cupboard in my parents’ house, tucked away behind a jungle of dining room furniture In this one: 80s cameras, now in poor condition but unreachable (for sentimental reasons or out of pure indifference); mismatched housings for said cameras; piles of bulk bank statements; a photo album bound in faded leather

Its position among the debris tells you all there is to know about the album’s significance, and yet, mysteriously, it often finds its way onto a more visible surface: the seat of an occupied chair. seconds ago, or balanced precariously on the edge of a coffee table Of course everyone in my family denies responsibility for making the album look like Call it a sign from above

Important memorabilia – McDonald’s birthdays, awkward graduation photos – are kept elsewhere, archived with collector’s precision This one is only B sides A photo of the Opera House, taken the year we moved here from China, finger smashed against the lens A messy room in our first apartment, dotted with moving boxes and nothing else Blur, light leak, no more blur These are – dare I say it – opening moments, between milestones from other albums, but they still carry a strange nostalgia An illusory feeling, of course (I’m too young, and far too forgetful, to remember the moments recorded in the most of these photos), but no less intense in its evocation of a specific warmth towards a pink version of the past

That same warmth radiates through Minari (in theaters Feb. 18), writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s chronicle of the Korean-American Yi family who, after a decade working in California chicken hatcheries, his suitcases to look for something more rural Arkansas, something closer to this birthday party – destiny – American Dream Father Jacob (Steven Yeun, living up to his reputation as one of the most interesting actors in contemporary cinema) is the impetus behind the family’s move, a necessary inconvenience in their quest to open a self-sustaining Korean vegetable farm serving budding diasporic communities in the region His wife, Monica (Yeri Han), is not so sure La Was California Really That Bad? Plus, they have to worry about the kids: the steadfast Anne (Noel Cho) and the incredibly puckish David (newcomer Alan S Kim), who leaps to the new home with all the enthusiasm of a sighted child. a mobile home – on wheels, no less – for the first time

Set in the ’80s with mostly Korean dialogue, Minari is an immigrant story, but make no mistake – it’s certainly not an immigrant story, one defined by clear morals, and so pervasive that it generated its own well-compartmentalized tropes and cheap take-out Like: Racism is bad (who knew?) Or: Look at these people! How noble they are, how like us! There are no big gestures of protest here; inherent political byproducts of the film’s location, both geography and time, boil down to a whisper – a Reagan whisper here, a racist flippant remark there, quickly swept under a carpet of banter before even to land

Indeed, the whole movie, even through tragedy and struggle, takes place in this whispered state, the intentional whisper of a story too personal to scream from the rooftops, as if it risks dishonoring its subjects Minari is semi-autobiographical, after all, bringing together the half-recalled fragments of Chung from childhood – with young David as the on-screen counterpart – and imbuing them with the insight of an adult Just because he might not remember all that the feeling is not there

Minari is drenched in the kind of honeyed hue that evokes the lightness of memory, elevating ordinary events to nostalgic signifiers for a “easier” time, when people were not burdened by current pressures It also helps that Chung and cinematographer Lachlan Milne exercise a malick-esque reverence for the bucolic. The haloed glow around blades of grass shivering in the breeze, or an insect buzzing in the dappled sunlight can often approach something like the divine – their 50-acre plot is a ‘Garden of Eden’, said Jacob

Our knowledge that these moments are fleeting – and often refracted by Jacob’s blind ambition, or David’s infallible curiosity – only makes them sweeter, before we have to return to the daily pressure of what that means. depend on your entire livelihood on what is, in essence, an agrarian experiment As Jacob moves forward with his plan, wringing both money and sympathies, it is Monica who is left to resolve the repercussions They argue, often over money and always other coins The content of their quarrels is not as important as the echoes they send around their house on wheels, which prompts their children to throw paper planes in the middle of them with big letters: “DO NOT FIGHT”

In a low-key compromise, Grandma (Youn Yuh-Jung) is airlifted from Korea to stay with the family, triggering the summer that was “She’s not like a real grandmother,” complains David, balking at her “Korean smell” and inability to bake cookies Instead, she’s obscene, rude, and loves WWE gameplay and covers She’s the perfect antidote to David’s precocity, even if he doesn’t realize it

It is also grandmother who gives her title to Minari, in reference to a parsley herb native to East Asia that she crosses the Pacific to plant at the edge of a lake just below the farm “It grows anywhere, like weeds,” she explains. “Rich or poor, anyone can benefit from it and be healthy” In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, the metaphor would seem heavy, but Chung creates something wonderful here: rather than extolling the virtues of such an egalitarian plant, he transforms it into a pleasant lullaby at bedtime “Minari, minari, wonderful, wonderful,” the song says, soothing both grandmother and grandson to sleep When the grass returns to the fence plane, now weighted with symbolic consequence, it feels won, like most things in the movie

Much like Chung’s avoiding the minari as an obvious metaphor, the film itself is gradually moving away from its well-battered origins as an evisceration of the American Dream and becoming a completely different beast. The pitfalls of that dream are still there – just watch as Jacob gets more and more weary with the world, still wearing the red baseball cap and flannel shirt of someone who is cosplaying a Midwestern farmer – but Chung is aware That it’s just a misplaced type of faith in a movie full of them Faith in religion, faith in tradition, faith that everything will be okay, even if all the evidence points to the contrary Maybe, suggests Chung, faith in each other is everything what we have

That Minari has been universally acclaimed, winning the highest prize for the first time when it premieres at Sundance in 2020 and now for a procession of awards, including Oscar buzz, is a welcome surprise, though one can’t help but wonder if this is an ironic victory in an industry so besieged by a simplistic understanding of race that it heralds every new non-white voice as the singular voice of their community

Asian-American poet and critic Cathy Park Hong, in her recent collection of essays Minor Feelings, asks, “Will there be a future where I’m just me, on the page, and not me?” ethnicity, begging you to believe that we are human beings who feel pain? Minari seems to ask the same question, perhaps not so directly, through its inherent uniqueness – its mix of hazy memories that could only belong to one person.Like flipping through an album of forsaken moments, it reminds us of the little glories that we can attribute to our lives, imagined or not

Michael Sun is a Sydney film and music writer whose work has appeared in Guardian Australia, ABC Arts and VICE

There’s an old wardrobe in my parents’ house, hidden behind a jungle of dining room furniture.In this one: 80s cameras, now in poor condition but can’t be donated (for reasons sentimental or out of pure indifference); mismatched housings for said cameras; piles of bulk bank statements; a photo album bound in faded leather

Its position among the debris tells you all there is to know about the album’s significance, and yet, mysteriously, it often finds its way onto a more visible surface: the seat of an occupied chair. seconds ago, or balanced precariously on the edge of a coffee table Of course everyone in my family denies responsibility for making the album look like Call it a sign from above

Important memorabilia – McDonald’s birthdays, awkward graduation photos – are kept elsewhere, archived with collector’s precision This

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Minari

Ebene News – UA – Little glories: “Minari”

Source: https://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/michael-sun/2021/18/2021/1613602616/small-glories-minari