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Sep 14, 2017
2:36 PM | 0 comments

My second time participating in TIFF and this year I came prepared with a total of SIX movies lined up. That's double the amount of films I watched last year! I also planned it so that I would be watching one film a day until the last day of TIFF. The movies chosen were as follows:
- The Poet and the Boy, dir. Kim Yang Hee
- The Seen and Unseen, dir. Kamila Andini
- Shuttle Life, dir. Tan Seng Kiat
- Manhunt, dir. John Woo
- Youth, dir. Feng Xiaogang
- Radiance, dir. Naomi Kawase
- Looking for Oum Kulthum, dir. Shirin Neshat & Shoja Azari

Film: The Poet and the Boy
Director: Kim Yang Hee
At: Scotiabank Theatre

Dinner: Original Chicken @Gushi Japanese Street Food w/Jasmine Tea

Waiting in Line Book: The Mortifications by Derek Palacion

Basic Summary (from TIFF): A married poet meets a teenage boy working at a donut shop and helplessly develops feelings for him.

After The Movie Thoughts (possible spoilers obv.)
When I came out of the movie theatre, I felt multiple emotions. I was conflicted: torn between whether to feel angry, sad, or forlorn. I felt like it wasn't until the midway point when I really tried to pinpoint the exact moment when I could tell the boy was... well, not denying his feelings for the poet and realized that it wasn't possible. There was no exact moment. It was like wandering through a fog trying to grab onto something but all you get is the feeling that something is there but it's not solid. It dissipates from the time you think you've got something.

Something that added to the conflict was that I was coming into the movie from a perspective that age is an issue. I admit that I felt uncomfortable at certain points. Not to discredit the director, I think this struggle of touselling with the poet's sexuality and the situation he is faced with is exactly the intention she was trying to bring to the forefront of the film. The great thing about film is that you are taken along for the ride as you feel the same emotions and feelings that the characters do and so when they struggle, you feel that struggle with them.
In film, I feel like no topic is taboo. There is meaning that can be found in the places you don't think to look and the result of film is a magnifying glass focusing on the details we miss. In this film, you can see that a very prominent taboo issue comes up and that is the obvious age difference between the poet and the boy which adds a very special layer to this film. It's undeniable that there is a very strong reaction from  people when you mention the word "relationship" in the context of a pair where the difference is so big. Thoughts of being taken advantage of, and that the boy is still growing and not fully mature yet naturally come to mind. Is this something that we should be concerned about? In this film, we have certain contexts to remember: the poet is married. The boy, in a way, is forced to grow up very quickly because of his family's situation. Where do you draw the line between what is okay and what is not? Even when you think about it from a consentual point of view, the boy didn't reject the poet's advances. But was this because he was too young to say no? Or maybe, in a sense, he felt the same affection towards the poet?
The answers to these unanswered questions are something you will need to watch the film for. Maybe you won't come away with a concrete answer, and that's okay. In a realistic sense, that's how life is. It doesn't always come with concrete answers and many things that seem obvious aren't so obvious when you take into consideration the context that comes with it.

Final Thoughts
When you look at the struggle that the LGBT+ have to deal with, it's easy to dismiss it because the general consensus is "if only they weren't like this" and "it's just a phase, it will pass" but that's just a very close-minded view of it. This film does a fantastic job of highlighting how much of a struggle it can be, and how the complicated nuances of coming to terms with your sexuality can really affect your life in a big way.
The only complaint I have is that I wished that the boy was older. I agree that it wouldn't provide the same kind of turmoil as it did with the fact that the boy is below legal age, but maybe that's just the result of living in an Americanized society.

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