“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.”
- Excerpt from Samuel Ullmann’s poem ‘Youth’
The above poem shows that youth has many powers to potentially refresh our life. Youth is the most glowing period during our entire lifetime. Chonnam Tribune has chosen two movies, which deal with this subject, “Youth”. One is directed by Jung Jae-eun. We are going to focus on the common meaning of youth from these two movies and the subtle differences between them.
“Take Care of My Cat” is one of the movies. It has five characters. All of them are twenty-year old girls who have just started their social lives. The movie describes these twenty-year-olds who have many hopes and fears for their uncertain futures.
Tae-hi, a kind and extraordinary girl, beautiful but crafty Hae-ju, Ji-young who is good at painting, and cheerful twins Bi-rue & On-jo are all best friends. Even though they had been always together since high school, as they enter their twenties, each of their paths for the future becomes different. Hae-ju who enters a stock company fosters her ambition of being a career woman. Ji-young is eager to go abroad to further her painting studies. Tae-hi loves a spastic poet she met during her volunteer work. The twin sisters sell their self-made accessories. One day, Ji-young finds a lost kitten Ti-Ti. It has a specific character; it likes to be alone and never opens its heart easily. The five girls resemble this mysterious animal. All of them undergo many hardships and wanderings during their twenties. Tae-hi says, “I want to go all over the world and I don’t want to have my purpose in my life limited. Sometimes I feel burdened at the thought of being stuck only in one place.” The twenties are presented as a state of confusion on the way to becoming mature adults. Despite their bitterness, the girls try to overcome their trials and tribulations. As they stand up to the trials, they become stronger and come to maturity.
In this movie, common things exist between the cat and the 5 characters. The cat is caught between being a wild animal and being a pet. Comparatively, the 5 twenty-year-old girls are between girl and woman. Before they cross the dividing line, they confront endless hardships and obstacles in their lives. However youth, it is the most precious thing in our life process because our zest for life and our courage prevents us from being undaunted by failure or rejection.
The other movie is “The Aggressives”. It is a story about a high school boy, So-yo who likes to skate. So-yo is an ordinary boy who has only been skating with a short time. One day he comes to meet one blade group at the park. So-yo sees Mo-ki, who takes pride in his splendid skating skill, and So-yo is fascinated with him. Finally, he has the chance to be a member of an inline skating club and he can also gradually improve his skating. His life feels new and fresh as he has found what he really wants to do. Like in the previous movie, So-yo isn’t sure about life and of what the future holds. One particular scene, shows him with Mo-ki and his girlfriend Han-ju. So-yo asks them, “Is my life going in the right direction? In the future, could I not regret my life?” This represents So-yo’s fears of the uncertainty of the future. All of us may have experiences of worrying about the future and often ask ourselves these questions.
To buy a ticket for the world inline skating championship, Mo-ki is compelled to shoot an advertisement as a stuntman. The advertisement is about skating at complex bars. But he makes mistakes over and over again, and the advertisers despise him. Finally, Mo-ki jumps on an expensive camera on purpose and as a result is kicked out of the ad campaign. Consequently, his group has to organize an event to pay-off their debts but Mo-ki himself doesn’t participate in the event as he is tormented by doubts about his life. When he first started skating, he didn’t have any fears about injury. He thought that he really loved it and he didn’t care about anything else except skating. Skating was his sole purpose of living. As he gets older, he feels fears and he is confused about his future.
From the moment that Mo-ki starts his wandering, each member of the group is willing to leave the team. So-yo becomes confused and begins to lose his strong faith about his future life. The most impressive narration in the movie is this: “After a furious typhoon, the sun shines brighter. I bet my whole life on skating. But I lost many things and in the future I will lose more and more. I am resigned to all of the sacrifice. And now I am skating at the sun.” As time passes, So-yo participates in the world inline skating competition. He shows us his confidence, passion and affection for skating which he was always eager to do. This movie presents us the opportunity to take a serious look at ourselves once more. Although So-yo undergoes many sufferings in this movie, he is able to realize his passion and what he really wants to do. We can ask ourselves after watching these two movies. “What am I doing?”, “Is it right to live like this?”, “What do I really want to do in the future?” These movies remind me of important questions which are essential to consider. We lived yesterday with heart and hand for a precious today. Tomorrow might well be composed of bright shiny moments, pieces of both today and yesterday.
For the present, don’t be scared. Live more with fun and joy. We have lots of time to go forward and go mad over anything you want. It is our privilege to try anything, even though some may be reckless.
What do you think the common messages between these two movies are? These movies deliver an important message to us about our youth, passions and dreams. Youth only comes once. We strive to keep it and use it properly. Someone, once said, “Youth symbolizes challenge, courage and confidence.” However, most of us often forget that we are still young. There are many obstacles throughout our lives. But we have the power to overcome all sufferings. As we get over our difficulties, we may become mature persons with tough spirits. Although we undergo ordeals over and over again, we have many opportunities and possibilities to stand up and be counted again and again.
“Youth has power as a motive which makes us challenge over and over again.”