BurningBlu-ray Disc | Korean
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BASED ON THE SHORT STORY
BARN BURNING BY HARUKI MURAKAMI
(Excerpt from story: As I mentioned, when I first met her she told me she was studying mime. One night, we were out at a bar, and she showed me the Tangerine Peeling. As the name says, it involves peeling a tangerine. On her left was a bowl piled high with tangerines; on her right, a bowl for the peels. At least that was the idea...)
It's me, Shin Hae-mi! I had plastic surgery. I got pretty, right?
Your cat's name is Boil?
-Yes, Boil. I found him abandoned in the basement boiler room. He hides and doesn't come out if there's a stranger here. He has severe autism.
This room faces North, so it's always chilly and dark. It gets sunlight only once a day. From over there. The sunlight hits the Seoul Tower window and bounces into my room. It's only for a brief moment. You have to be lucky to see it.
Little Hunger is a person who is literally hungry. Great Hunger is a person who is hungry for the meaning of life.
Recent figures prove the severity of our country's youth unemployment. It is growing at the fastest rate among OECD member countries.
So, what kind of novel do you want to write?
-I'm not sure yet...
How about writing about your father? In my opinion, he's like a protagonist in a story. Look at his life! It's so turbulent! He was nuts back in the day. Aren't all protagonists nuts? He was number one in Paju High. Not for his grades, but for his pride. After he returned from working in the Middle East, I told him to buy an apartment building in Gangnam with the money he earned. I promised he wouldn't regret it. But he didn't, because of his pride. Instead, he returned to Paju and became a livestock farmer, and now he's broke and in jail.
I joined the Sunset Tour on my way to the Kalahari Desert. It's a program that shows you the sunset of the desert. But it turned out to be a parking lot. There was nothing but trash tourists left behind. Everybody came with someone, but I was the only one by myself. I really felt all alone there. I wondered why I was even there, all alone. Then the sun started to set. The sun was setting beyond the endless sand-covered horizon. At first it was orange. Then it turned blood red. Then purple, then navy. It got darker and darker as the sunset disappeared, and my eyes suddenly welled up with tears. "I must be at the end of the world." That's what I thought. "I want to vanish just like that sunset." Dying is too scary, but... I wished I could disappear as if I had never existed.
It's fascinating to see people cry.
Why? shed a single tear in my life. I suppose I did when I was really little, but I can't remember ever shedding a tear.
-That is fascinating. But you do feel sadness, don't you?
Maybe. I'm not sure. But since I've never shed a single tear, I'm not sure if it was real sadness that I felt.
-May I ask what you do for a living?
Well, I do this and that. You wouldn't understand even if I told you, but to put it simply, I play.
Yes. Nowadays, there is no distinction between working and playing. May I ask who your favorite writer is?
Oh, Faulkner. When I read his work, I feel like I'm reading about myself.
(Notes: William Faulkner, a major American twentieth-century author, wrote historical novels portraying the decline and decay of the upper crust of Southern society.)
How does he live like that at his age? Traveling abroad, driving a Porsche, listening to music while cooking pasta...
-I guess he's young and rich. He's the Great Gatsby.
What do you mean?
-Mysterious people who are young and rich but you don't know what they really do. There are so many Gatsbys in Korea.
Why do you think he's seeing you? Have you ever think about that?
-He said he likes people like me. He thinks I'm interesting.
There's something in your heart. A stone. The stone is making you suffer. That's why you can't fully enjoy things. That's why you can't appreciate tasty food, or tell a guy you like that you like him. You need to remove the stone.
Good to see you again, Jong-su. Hae-mi wanted to see you.
-No, Ben kept asking me to call you.
I have a hobby of burning greenhouses. I choose an abandoned greenhouse and set it on fire.
-Once every two months?
I think that's the best pace for me.
In Korea, there are tons of greenhouses. Useless, filthy, unpleasant-looking
greenhouses. It's like they're all waiting for me to burn them down. And as I watch them burn to the ground, I feel great joy. Then I feel... I feel a bass sound right here. A bass that rings to my very bone.
-And you judge whether or not they're useless?
I don't judge anything. I just accept it. I accept that they're waiting to be burnt down. It's like rain. Rain falls. The river overflows, causing a flood that sweeps people away. You think the rain judges anything? There is no right or wrong there, just the morals of nature. The morals of nature are like simultaneous existence.
I'm here, and I'm there. I'm in Paju, and I'm in Banpo. I'm in Seoul, and I'm in Africa. Something like that. That kind of balance.
Maybe you missed it because it was too close.
-I don't think so.
How strange. Sometimes you can't see things that are too close to you.
It's difficult for women. They complain if you wear makeup, and complain if you don't. They complain if you wear revealing clothes, and complain if you dress casually. Have you heard of the saying, "There's no country for women"?
Can you work nights and after hours?
- Yes, sir.
Where do you live, number two?
How are you going to commute from Bucheon? It takes 2 hours.
--No problem, sir. I can...
It's disappointing that my old house is gone. It used to be right over there. Now it's gone without a trace. And the well is gone too.
You're too serious. It's no fun being serious. Enjoy yourself. You need to feel the bass right here. You need to feel it ring from your bones.
You know how stores hand them out in the streets. but our duty-free store gives them out only if you buy expensive items. I tell them loud and clear, "Meiyou. No samples. Meiyou." But they just stand there and go, "You! You!" "You have them! Give them to me!"
The Chinese are similar to the Americans. We think they're like us because of the Confucius culture.
-How are they similar?
They're both gigantic geographically.
They always place themselves at their center, whereas we're always conscious of others.
If only I had been younger, I'd have sold my organs.
She cried for hours down at the bottom of the well. Crying and looking up, just staring up at the round sky, waiting for someone to find her.
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