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Monday, March 22, 2010

Is a Positive Portrayal Too Much to Ask?

The Georgetown Voice recently published and interview by Chris Heller with South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho, about his latest movie, “Mother”, which “follows one woman’s struggle to prove her mentally-challenged son’s innocence after he is accused of murder.”

Q. Mother has strong incestuous undertones, but the exact nature of the mother-son relationship is never made explicit. How did you decide where to draw the line between what is shown and what must be inferred?

A. I did want to make the audience guess whether or not the two were crossing the line, but more importantly, I wanted to focus on the fact that both the mother and the son are incapable of having normal sexual relations.

It would be nice to see a portrayal of a happy consanguineous couple with a healthy relationship, neither of whom is suspected of doing terrible things. Well, I guess there are plenty in erotica, but I’m talking cinema that isn’t essentially erotica.

I do realize that drama involves conflict, so that conflict is often going to be present in the protagonist’s love interest. But it is possible to have a film with a positive example. The relationship can be a side story. Or, dramatic gold can be mined by depicting a couple enduring all of the obstacles - mostly involving ignorance and jealousy from others - that a happy consanguineous couple (or triad) may deal with.

The triad of which I write in this blog consists of attractive, well-adjusted people who don’t hurt anyone, pay their taxes, and can have “normal” sexual relations. They happen to prefer their extraordinary relationship above others.

Positive portrayals are needed to advance social justice. So how about throwing a bone to people who are struggling with hostility?
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