There is an old closet in my parents’ house hidden behind a jungle of dining furniture Inside: some cameras from the 1980s that are now in poor condition but cannot be donated (from sentimental Reasons or out of sheer indifference); inconsistent cases for these cameras; Stacks of loose bank statements; a photo album made of faded leather

Its position in the middle of the rubble tells you everything you need to know about the album’s meaning, and yet it mysteriously often finds its way onto a more conspicuous surface: the seat of a chair that was occupied or balanced a few seconds ago precariously on the edge of a coffee table, of course, everyone in my family declines the responsibility of getting the album into the air. Call it a sign from above

The important memories – McDonald’s birthdays, uncomfortable closing pictures – are kept elsewhere and archived with the precision of a collector.This is only B-sides A recording of the opera house from the year we moved here from China with the Fingers pressed against the lens A messy bedroom in our first apartment, littered with moving boxes and little other fuzziness, slight leak, more fuzziness They are – I can only say – border moments between the milestones in other albums, but they still have a strange nostalgia An illusory feeling, sure (I’m too young and far too forgetful to remember the moments recorded in most of these photos) but no less intense in evoking a certain warmth towards a pink version of the past

The same warmth radiates through Minari (in cinemas on 18 February), Lee Isaac Chung’s chronicle of the Korean-American Yi family packing after a decade in California chicken hatcheries in search of something bigger in rural Arkansas, a little closer to that celebrated American dream Father Jacob (Steven Yeun, who made his reputation as one the most interesting actors in contemporary cinema) is the impetus for the family’s move, a necessary inconvenience in his quest to find a self-sufficient Korean vegetable farm to support the burgeoning diaspora communities in the region His wife Monica (Yeri Han) is himself not so sure Was California really that bad? The kids also have to worry: steadfast Anne (Noel Cho) and incredibly puckering David (newcomer Alan S Kim) jumping towards the new accommodation with the excitement of a child seeing a mobile house for the first time – no less on wheels

Playing with dialogue mostly in Korean in the 80s, Minari is a story of immigrants, but make no mistake – this is certainly not an immigration story defined by clear morals and so ubiquitous that it was generated in its own neat way subdivided tropics and cheap food stalls Like: Racism is bad (who knew that?) or: Look at these people! How noble they are, how similar to us! There are no big gestures of protest here; of the political by-products inherent in the film’s location in both geography and time are voted down to a murmur – a murmur from Reagan here, a casually racist remark there that was swiftly swept under a carpet of courtesy before they even landed

Indeed, the entire film, even through tragedy and fighting, unfolds in this mumbled state, the deliberate whisper of a story too personal to scream from the rooftops as if this could dishonor its subjects after all Minari, semi-autobiographical, collects Chung’s half-remembered fragments from childhood – with young David as a counterpart on screen – and fills them with the insights of an adult. Just because he may not remember everything doesn’t mean the feeling isn’t there

Minari is soaked in the kind of honey-colored hue that evokes the ease of memory and elevates ordinary events to nostalgic signifiers of a “simpler” time when people were not burdened by the current pressures. It also helps that Chung and the cameraman Lachlan Milne exerting a malick-esque awe of the bucolic The glow around blades of grass trembling in the wind or an insect buzzing in the dappled sunlight can often approach something like the divine – their 50 acre property is a “Garden of Eden,” says Jacob

Our knowledge that these moments are fleeting – and often broken by Jacob’s blinking ambition or David’s innocent curiosity – only makes them sweeter before we have to get back to the day-to-day pressures of what it means to make your entire living dependent on it , What is essentially an agricultural experiment, while Jacob pushes his plan forward and dries up both money and sympathies, it is left to Monica to resolve the effects. They often argue about money and always from other rooms.The content of their arguments is not as important as the echoes that are send them around their house on wheels, causing their children to throw paper airplanes in their midst, decorated with large letters: “DO NOT FIGHT”

In a close compromise, Grandma (Youn Yuh-Jung) is flown in from Korea to stay with the family and start the summer. “She’s not like a real grandma,” says David, shying away from her “Korean smell” and her inability to bake cookies instead, she’s indecent, raw, and loves gambling and WWE reps. She’s the perfect antidote to David’s precociousness even if he doesn’t realize it

It’s also Grandma who gives Minari the title, referring to a parsley herb native to East Asia that she drives across the Pacific to plant on a lake right next to the farm, “It grows like weeds everywhere,” explains She “Rich or poor, everyone can enjoy it and be healthy. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, the metaphor seems stubborn, but Chung creates something wonderful here: instead of extolling the virtues of such an egalitarian plant, he transforms it into a joking lullaby going to bed “Minari, Minari, wonderful, wonderful” says the song that calms both grandma and grandchildren to sleep. When the herb returns in the final shot, which is now weighted with symbolic consistency, it feels deserved, like most things in the movie

Much like Chung’s avoidance of the Minari as an obvious metaphor, the film itself is gradually moving away from its trodden origins as an evisceration of the American dream to become a completely different beast. The pitfalls of that dream are still there – just watch the increasingly world-weary Jacob, who still wears the red baseball cap and flannel shirt of someone cosplaying a Midwestern farmer – but Chung is aware that it’s just one kind of false belief in a movie full of them belief in Religion, belief in tradition, belief that everything will be fine even if all evidence points to the contrary. Perhaps, Chung suggests, trust in one another is all we have

That Minari has received widespread praise and first prize at its Sundance premiere in 2020 and is now ready for a slew of accolades, including growing Oscar craze, is a welcome surprise, though one is only wondering may whether this is the case a dry victory in an industry so plagued by a simple understanding of the race that it heralds each new non-white voice as the unique voice of its community

The Asian-American poet and critic Cathy Park Hong asks in her latest collection of essays Minor Feelings: “Will there be a future in which I am simply me on the side, on the side and not me, the proxy for a whole ethnic group Affiliation begging you to believe we are people in pain? “Minari seems to be asking the same question, perhaps not as directly, because of its inherent specificity – its mix of fuzzy memories that could only belong to one person. Like flipping through an album of discarded moments, it reminds us of the little glories that that we can attribute to our lives, imaginary or in some other way

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

There is an old closet in my parents’ house, hidden behind a jungle of dining furniture. Inside: some cameras from the 1980s that are now in poor condition but cannot be donated (for sentimental reasons or out of sheer indifference); inconsistent cases for these cameras; Stacks of loose bank statements; a photo album made of faded leather

Its position in the middle of the rubble tells you everything you need to know about the album’s meaning, and yet it mysteriously often finds its way onto a more conspicuous surface: the seat of a chair that was occupied or balanced a few seconds ago precariously on the edge of a coffee table, of course, everyone in my family declines the responsibility of getting the album into the air. Call it a sign from above

The important memories – McDonald’s birthdays, uncomfortable closing pictures – are kept elsewhere and archived with the precision of a collector’s dies

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Minari

World news – AU – Small successes: “Minari”

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