When I gradually came to realize even the greatest creature is powerless before death, I found a film of an artist’s work that effectively visualized it with power. Damien Hurst’s Preserved Shark, though so famous that it is needless to explain. Grandeur and power of Shark overwhelm the viewers. Damien Hurst is such a penetrating artist– he plays human emotions and exactly tabs into our fear of death, as the curator said. Sharks has been one of most powerful, strong, and mighty animals on the top of ecological pyramid. It is often depicted as a signal for danger even in cartoon. By placing it in a container and highlighting the physical impossibility of the dangerous and threatening animal, preserved shark penetrates into human mind and rise the emotion of fear toward death. It has helpful to concern how to visualize ‘how powerless humans are before death.’

Secret Sunshine (밀양Milyang) is a 2007 South Korean film directed by Special Director’s Prize and Asian Film Award winner Lee Chang-dong. The story centers around a lady that copes with the death of her husband and child. The Korean title, 밀양 (Milyang or Miryang) is given after the city that served as the film’s setting and filming location. Secret Sunshine is a literal translation of 밀양, 密陽. It won the award for Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

plot: After losing her husband, a woman relocates to a small-town called Miryang with her only son for a new start. When her son is kidnapped and found dead, a local man stands by her through all of her struggles and tries to offer her hope. She finds relief in Christianity and decides to forgive and visits the kidnapper on the death row, but when he says he is already forgiven by God, she abandons her faith.

A woman wanted to start a new life in her husband’s hometown Miryang, after he died of car accident. However, her life completely twisted when her son kidnapped and murdered. Wrath, sorrow, desire…all she feels is her own business to care and overcome. She is relentlessly looking for something to soothe herself and pour all emotions that she burdens to somewhere– she goes to church, meet the kidnapper to try to forgive him, and mingle with other people… later she gives full vent to her feelings in a violent outburst to God. She has sexual relations with a pastor and violently smashes a chair in church. I saw things that a person left behind should stand and handle through this movie. And again, I felt how we humans are helpless before death. No matter what happens, what she does, how she feels, her dead son does not return. Dead. That is it.

A priest becomes a vampire…another man’s wife is coveted…a deadly seduction triggers murder.

Thirst is the new film from director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance). Already a boxoffice smash in Korea, Thirst was honored with the Prix du Jury [Jury Prize] at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival.

While humans have fear of death in their mind, they also have obsession and attachment to life. Kidnapped and murdered by a pair of vampires, people scream and make frantic attempts to escape from them. The scene that made me choose this movie is that a going blind priest begs for a vampire’s blood to be near to immortal. His greed eventually pushes himself to death, however, I could see fear of death and desire to live. Yes, “desire to live”. This is what I felt from the movie until it ends and concern for my final project.

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