Take care of my cat (2001)(고양이를 부탁해)
dir. Jeong Jae-eun
A joint diary of five girls.
Standing on the threshold of adulthood.
of success in a corporate world…
of sailing to a distant shore…
of a chance for a new life…
of never growing apart….
Graduating from high school together. From shared beginnings, they each now pursue separate aspirations. Striving to find their own path in this so called world of ours. Connected by a stray cat that is passed between them. This gem of a film recounts their story…..
I think we are all searching for meaning, and the means of reaching that elusive level of happiness and contentment. I sometimes wonder if such things are even meant to be. For if we were ever truly content, what more would there be left to strive for? There is an old middle-eastern proverb that roughly translates into “may all your dreams, but one, come true…”. I think there is truth in that. To achieve everything in this life that you set out to do, but to always have something more to look forward to. Some hidden road to discover. Some new horizon to explore…
But in this life, it really is to each their own. There is no way of knowing what another person truly feels, or understanding entirely where they are coming from. No matter how well we may or may not know a person, we each live such individual lives, so unique and multi-faceted that we often have trouble enough understanding our own – let alone anyone elses. I think all we can do in the end is the best we can – the same as everyone else. Someone once told me not to become overly concerned with what “other” people are doing with their lives and rather make the most of my own.
We allow ourselves to get weighed down by perceived responsibilities and externally imposed restrictions, that we sometimes forget how to move. Or we get caught up in conforming to everyone else’s expectations of what our lives “should” be, that we lose sight of our own path. And then we find ourselves, many years down the road, staring back at the end of sombody elses’ life…
This is a sober reflection on the fleetingness of human connection amidst societal pressures and indvidual imperfections. As two unlikely strangers embark on a relationship that both eventually accept is destined not to last. Sometimes when things fall apart, they fall apart completely. It is nobody’s fault per se. Or perhaps it is everybody’s. But then again, life is all about good-byes…
I think that is what these girls are striving to find: their place in this world and perhaps a sense of happiness or fulfilment, as elusive as they might be midst societal pressures, familial obligations and other peoples’ expectations.
As they leave the safe confines of high school and adolescence, for the uncertainty of adulthood and the reality of the world at large. They realise that all things change in time – people most of all – and friendships, strong as they once may have been, are sometimes not meant to last.
With an ambient and melancholic soundtrack from independent/underground Korean electronic group Byul (모임별), and helmed by the award winning female short film director Jeong Jae-eun in her feature film debut, it reflected the concerns of contemporary Korean women at the cusp of the new millennium, with rare insight and verve. Compared with the vacuous and largely empty shells that many contemporary Korean films about the vagaries of youth have now become, this is one of the few works that continues to give me hope in Korean cinema.
Life is hard. It is supposed to be. But in the end, that is what makes it all the more worthwhile. The sky is so blue. The sun is high and the sea is wide. Stop worrying. Things happen in your life like they are supposed to. The same as everyone elses – and the same as these five friends. The film ends on a suitably ambiguous note, with unfamiliar horizons stretching ahead – much like real life. The world is not perfect, but it is out there trying the best it can, and that is what makes it so darn beautiful. Let us do the same.
The Take Care of My Cat trailer:
Wrapping It Up
Looking back at the selected films, I realise that they are more a product of my own present circumstances. A reflection of where I am at this point in time and the worries and concerns that weigh on my mind. I suppose it goes to show, that as with most, I still have not found what I am looking for. Or am trying to recapture something I feel I’ve lost, if I ever really had it at all. But we are all on this journey, still searching for a destination, and these are simply the stepping stones that define us.
And so there you have it. For the day when we all have the time. The proverbial desert island list. The films that you would watch on your last day on earth, or take with you into eternity. A list true as of today, old before tomorrow, but in no way resembling yesterday’s … this is mine, what is yours?