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Have I ever said how much I looove the Nashville Film Festival? Well I do. I ❤ it with a passion. Why? Because I get to see films like “Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl.” Y’all, this film is bloody good fun. Outrageously funny. Wacky. Ridiculous. Gory. All with a kicky little soundtrack. Here’s the trailer:

Trailer

The soundtrack reminds me of that old TV show “Laugh In” for some reason. Not sure why. Anyway, if you can, see this film. You will be very very entertained. And, as the announcer told us before viewing, “You are not fucking ready for this film.” Srsly.

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At least twice in the Korean film “Vegetarian” is this question asked:  once by a sister, once by the husband of the vegetarian in question.  My question is this:  what does one have to do with the other?  Why does not eating meat equal crazy?

Multiple themes permeate the film:  it is not about (or just about) a woman who turns vegetarian.  The main character, a young married woman, has a sudden aversion to meat after having some unexplained dreams.  We see her ridding the fridge of meat; she later tells her husband she threw out the eggs as well.  She can’t have sex with her husband because he smells of meat.  Later, at a family gathering, her father gets so angry over her refusal to eat meat that he has two relatives hold her while he tries to stuff it down her throat.  Her revulsion and panic is so strong it drives her to take a knife to herself.

My question is:  Why?  Why is it, that when a person makes a choice about their diet, that others get so angry about it?  Why does someone else’s choice of food carry such weight, provoke such anger?  The anger is palpable for me, as this scene feels very familiar.

No one ever tried to force-feed me, but I can safely say there were thoughts of it in the heads of those around me.  I read somewhere recently that in general, it is more acceptable for a person to announce they are an atheist than a vegetarian.  Again, I have to ask:  Why?  Do we need to add to the Constitution Freedom of Diet, alongside Freedom of Speech and Religion?

Yeah, ok, I admit it– I scoff at folks who comest a continuous stream of fast food and processed junk.  I grew up on that stuff– plastic cheese and processed meats and cheap burgers.  I try to eat healthier now, but I do so enjoy some good ol’ non-food items now & then (lately I’m all about HOT FRIES. laugh all you want, they rock.)   So yeah I may have comments about what other folks eat.  But would I ever try to force my beliefs about food on them?  No.  Am I strongly opinionated and will I debate with them about it?  yes.  Eat and let eat, I say.

Another scene near the end of “Vegetarian” shows the girl being forcefully held down in a hospital, nose taped shut, so that they can actually force some sort of rice-gruel down her throat.  It was horrifying.  This was not because of her choice of diet, though.  In the end, she just refused to eat.  We never find out what the trauma was, or what was in her dreams that caused her to say she could not eat meat. She is diagnosed (wrongly, I believe) with Schizophrenia and anorexia.

She has only one person who relates to her in some way:  her artist brother-in-law.  I’m not sure he fully understood what she was going through, but he at least did not attack her for it.  When he paints flowers all over her body she is thrilled; when he paints flowers on another young man, she is undeniably attracted to him.  There is a sex scene with her and the brother-in-law, both painted in flowers, that is both hot and feral.

One other thing I noticed is the sound that meat makes, versus plants:  during the family dinner, the oysters (or whatever other meat they had) made a squishy, wet sound.  Later, when the girl and her brother-in-law are eating fruit, the sounds are crisp and fresh.  I dunno whether the director intended this contrast or not, but it was noticeable to me.

So.  Both the woman’s husband and sister ask and/or say that she is crazy.  I don’t eat meat, so does that mean that I, too, am crazy?  Food for thought, people.

In a few days, I’ll be seeing some late night flick about vampires and some sort of Frankenstein creature.  That should be much more fun!

This past Friday, my friend Marjorie and I took in our first animated film together at the Nashville Independent Film Festival.  We saw “Sita Sings the Blues,” an animated film by Nina Paley.  I cannot lie, I loved this film.

The trailer on youtube begins with this line:  “The greatest break-up story ever told. ”  This isn’t hyperbole, either.   There are actually two break-ups going on:  one being a modern-day couple (Nina’s own story) and the other being that of Sita and Rama.  The animation, the music, the use of various cartoon styles all make this a striking yet fun film.

What struck me most, however, was the image of the modern-day broken-hearted Nina, reading alone in her Brooklyn apartment after the break-up.  She was reading the Ramayana, the story that she later developed into this fantastic film.  Nina accomplished something both difficult and wonderful here:  she turned her strife into art.

Strife into art is something I’m familiar with.  Transforming any kind of pain or grief is a process that is both enlightening and therapeutic.  I once heard John Updike speak about the role of writing in transforming memories:  he said that when you take a memory and change it into something else, such as a story, the act of writing that story down and making it into something new replaces the old memory.  Instead of remembering you’re 5th birthday party, you remember the story of that party instead.  It’s a way of self-editing, culling the important stuff from a memory or event.

I find that while writing is good for the soul in general, writing about significant or painful events in  my life helps me to sort my feelings about those events, and put things in perspective.  Writing forces me to focus on the very heart of that event:  it forces me to be concise, choose the exact words, be relentlessly honest.  In the wake of my recent break-up, I have found that I’ve really wanted to write, which I feel is a good sign.  Yes, my heart has been broken; yes, I’ve cried (almost) every day for oh, about three months now; yes, I know I’ll survive.  But oh, I’d so rather have a rush of words than a rush of tears.

Anyway, a big thanks to Nina Paley.  Check out her other work here, on her blog:

http://blog.ninapaley.com/

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