Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.
가장 도발적인 작품은 소람 감독의 ‘그레이 섹스’다. 흑백으로 구분할 수 없는 회색지대처럼 성폭력은 아니지만 그렇다고 즐거운 섹스도 아닌 성 경험을 말한다. 여성의 성적 욕망 자체에 조명을 비추는 작품이기도 하다. 내가 무엇을 원하는지 정확히 알아야, 피해 아니면 가해라는 이분법의 언어를 벗어나 자신이 느끼는 혼란과 모호함의 정체를 붙들 수 있다고 말하는 듯 하다. ‘미투’ 운동에 대한 다큐멘터리라기보단 말 그대로 ‘미투 그 이후’, 새로운 장으로 넘어가기 위한 고민이다. 네 작품 중 가장 마지막으로 배치됐지만, 매끈한 결론 대신 오히려 생각할 거리를 안고 극장을 나서게 한다.
“The most provocative [of the four mini-documentaries] is director Soram’s Grey Sex. It refers to sexual experiences that can be considered to be in a grey area—not outright sexual assault, but not exactly pleasurable, enjoyable sex either. It is also a work that shines on a light on the nature of women’s sexual desire itself. It seems to be saying that if you know exactly what you want, you can break free of the binary, dichotomous language of victim and aggressor, thereby taking control of and overcoming any confusion and ambiguity you may feel. Rather than a documentary about the ‘Me Too’ movement per se [like the previous mini-documentaries], it’s literally ‘After #MeToo,’ illuminating a path on how to move on to a new chapter. By being placed last of the four, rather than providing a smooth conclusion to the documentary as a whole, it give viewers something to think about as they leave the theater.”
See here for more information about this documentary as a whole, or these two trailers:
Not going to lie, I’m expecting a few curious looks when I attend myself later this week. Will I be the only non-Korean person in the theater? The only man?*
What if that curiosity leads to—horror of horrors—someone actually striking up a conversation afterwards, forcing me to brush off my rusty spoken Korean skills as I explain why I came?
The peculiarities of my glorious visage aside, it would seem odd I was there. After all, my job is actually almost entirely devoid of office politics, because of reasons. True, there’s interacting with my young Korean students, which I admit will indeed always be overshadowed by my privilege of being a middle-aged cishet white man, not to mention the power over them which comes with conferring grades. Yet if you really knew anything my utterly lowly job, you’d laugh at the notion that such power was sufficient to seriously consider abusing it.
(Update—In hindsight, I realize my privilege in being a middle-aged cishet white man may have clouded my judgement about the lack of office politics. Sigh.)
Then there’s dating (etc.), which I’ve recently become painfully aware I haven’t pursued in nearly 22 years. Those few genuine offers I’ve received in all that time, that I like to pretend weren’t entirely just wishful thinking on my part (but do know I always turned down with nothing but grace and respect), don’t provide much of a foundation to navigate the choppy sexual politics of dating in the 2020s.
Gaining one then, is one good enough reason alone to watch this documentary. As is learning about the subject in general. There’s also simply showing financial (and moral) support for a worthy cause, which not everyone who feels the same way has the privilege to bestow. And finally, there’s reading that paragraph at the start of this post, through which I discovered that one of four mini-documentaries contained within speaks so profoundly to what I’ve read recently about #Metoo in these two excellent books, which I’ll be discussing at a later date:
I completely share your frustrations though, that in Busan at least, Korea’s second-biggest city, in CGV cinemas it will only play for a total of 12 times over 4 days, As in, literally only a single theater, let alone having no subtitles available.** Still, for those of you with the Korean ability and time, I do hope you consider supporting it by attending.
Who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Seomyeon? ;)
*(To my surprise, as I type this there’s only a 56%-44% women to men split among people who’ve pre-purchased tickets at CGV. Finally, this feature of Korean cinema websites actually proved interesting!)
**Update—Actually, it screened for much longer than expected, and did include Korean subtitles. Both of which were great of course, but it still seems odd not to mention the subtitles on the movie’s information page.
If you reside in South Korea, you can donate via wire transfer: Turnbull James Edward (Kookmin Bank/국민은행, 563401-01-214324)