Pisces (2000)

((summary taken from MyAsianCinema))

For Aeryeon (played by veteran actress Lee Miyeon), a video shop owner, her only friends are movies and a couple of tropical fish she raises in the shop. The other joy of hers is to select quality videos for her customers, which is interpreted as part of her effort to overcome solitude. Then one day comes attractive and handsome Dongseok, a lover of French movies and music. From that time on, she waits for him every day. She hears from him that he composes music and prepares to release an album in order to make a debut as a singer, but has been rejected many times by producers. Although she confesses her love to him, he says he has a girlfriend to marry. Aeryeon meets Dongseok’s girlfriend and tells her, “You can meet other boyfriends than Dongseok. But for me, Dongseok is the only lover. Please leave him.”

Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac, represented by two fish, and believed to affect the character and life of people born between Feb. 21 and March 20. For the people of Pieces, love never stops, even at the face of rejection. If it stops, it is not love. The color of blue and yellow appears alternately in this film, with jazz music as the backdrop. The film has something that touches viewers’ heartstring, more so than other films of its kind. Newcomer director Kim Hyeongtae superbly portrays the psychology of a female character abandoned by her love.

Download: Asia Torrents , My Asian Cinema

My Rating:

Honestly, I think I missed something.

I've read the movie description, read viewer comments . . . and I couldn't disagree with them more. This movie is about a love that is SO obsessive, so unhealthy, that it literally made me uncomfortable to watch. It's a HORRIBLE love that should never see the light of day - Pisces, or no.

My problem? The ending ruined it.

Below, I'm going to start a rant that is filled with spoilers. . . so in case you want to go into this film completely blind, look away now.

Spoilers start now.

Okay . . . I just don't understand how people can be touched by the big revelation in the video tape (aka, that she knew him before opening the video store). First of all, by this point, she's proven beyond a doubt that she's crazy. If a guy had pulled all the crap that she did, we'd be cheering at the end when the stalkee finally stabs him with a knife. So, really, what did it prove? Besides the fact that she was crazy from the very beginning, and that everything we knew about her was possibly a lie...

Case in point: The narrator (Ae-ryun) is unreliable. In order to move her shop so close to his apartment, she would've had to research where he lives. And are we to believe, considering the depth of her obsession, that she simply stopped at his address? The fish, the movies, the music, Kurt Cobain - how much of that was *her* and how much was her simply trying to impress him? It made me question whether or not we really knew her at all. Was the sweet, unassuming shop-owner we met at the beginning the REAL Ae-ryun, or was it the fearless, no-nonsense, crazy girl who'd walk calmly through traffic without a second glance? Because the end made me think it's the latter. And my sympathy and connection was with the *former*. The fact is we just don't know.

And in the final scene, when Dong-suk storms to her video store... I didn't get the impression that he was there for some big love-confession, but rather, had realized their entire relationship was based on a lie. He was there to *confront* her about it, and to hear the truth from her directly - not ask her out on a date. The end then, is sad not because their love couldn't be, but because she was unable to move on. She succumbed to her insanity, and chose to cling to the one "perfect" moment in their past; just like the movie she had recommended in the beginning. Sad, maybe. But only tragic for her poor brother - the one she REALLY left behind.

So... ARE we supposed to sympathize with her plight? Because honestly, as harsh as it sounds, I don't. I felt more sympathy for the poor fish she crushed, and I don't even like fish! And yet, if this movie had ended WITHOUT the big pointless twist, I might have actually felt bad for her. Yes, love DOES make people do crazy things... but there are some lines you just don't cross, and Ae-ryun crossed them all.

*deep breath* 

Okay, end rant. Spoilers finished.

The film's saving grace is that it does do an excellent job of playing with the zodiac, and embodying the romantic spirit of Pisces. In fact, it would be interesting to see how ALL the zodiac signs would've handled a similar situation had they been in her place. Who knows, maybe my lack of sympathy comes from the Taurus in me, and the fact that a stubborn bull would hardly go to such lengths when pursuing a guy. My movie-version would've been much shorter: "You don't like me? Okay, then. I'll move on. Have a nice life."

And yet, the film almost depends too strongly on the Pisces-centric theme: something that's lost on most casual viewers like me, who have no knowledge or understanding of zodiac-driven-character-traits. Besides, it's not like one particular sign can truly sum up an entire group of people: This could've easily existed without the zodiac reference, and the end-result would've been the same. At its core, it's nothing but a simple, overemotional, unrealistic tragedy.

Maybe it's just me . . . but in my romances, I like having a character that's easy to cheer for. And in this movie, I just didn't get it.


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