interview with bae doo na

November 9th, 2005

bdn affectionally introducing bae doo na: she hasn’t played in a movie for over two years. seems like this is the fate of a lot of my favorite actresses, think jacqueline wu qian lian – who disappeared from the movie set in the mid 90s; she made a brief return in Jiang Hu last year.

but this is about bae doo na: the first time i saw her was in one of my alltime favorite movies, Take Care of my Cat. one of a group of friends in high school, now all graduated, and trying to find their own way in life, with mixed success – she is the one who is misunderstood by her family, the illogicality of blood ties surging through (hah) her blood veins (she cuts herself out of the family picture when she decides to leave), and her noble but almost futile attempts to keep the group of friends, the camaraderie going. bravely picking up the bricks, when the house around you, life, friendships, are starting to fall apart, slowly. the start of your own life is rooted in violence, the destruction of family life – like any nation-state, its birth is intrinsically tied to cleansing – the coming-of-age.

my second movie with her was with yin, at the berlinale (what year? .. it was our first time in berlin). in an unknown city, freezing cold (the berlinale is held every year in february – often during snow), we were able to get tickets for this movie because i remembered her fondly in Take Care of my Cat. the movie was called Sympathy for Mr Vengeance: that should ring a bell for you now, for those who are into cinema. Shot by the same director who did Old Boy, it was a brutal movie me and yin  and our virgin eyes were about to witness, on a cold, estranged sunday morning. what still sticks with me was the utter desolateness of the violence, bleak, dry, so natural. bae doo na played in this movie a role never to forget: lovely, idealistic activist youth, singing manifestos and something with electricity and ears. (for those who have seen the movie ..)

oh bae doo na, where are you?

Posted in movies

8 Responses

  1. Yin

    it was feb. 2003

  2. Yin

    there was this kidney too 😉

  3. Milo

    I’m anxiously awaiting that movie. I’d like to re-watch Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance in the mean time, but am still a little put-off by the tendon slashing etc.

    Do you know doona maintains her own (photo)blog at ? A lot of fun, there’s even some on-set photos in there.

  4. Loki

    yeah, i am eagerly awaiting linda linda linda too.
    thanks for the photoblog link! i didn’t know she had one 🙂
    (i didn’t know you can read korean either! ;))

  5. Milo

    Heheh… not quite there yet. At this point I can actually “read” Hangul one character at a time, but still have no idea what it means. Luckily there’s Google Translate. 🙂

    Have you also seen Saving My Hubby and Barking Dogs Never Bite? Two rather funny slapstick-y performances of hers.

  6. Loki

    she is supercute in barking dogs! haven’t seen Saving My Hubby, nor have i seen spring with polar bear (if i remember that title correctly).

    any particular reason beyond interest that you are learning korean?

  7. Milo

    I’m not really learning, just picking up stuff here and there. I watch a *lot* of Korean movies (have seen like 80 in the past 2 years) and it’s fun to be able to recognize the occasional sign or word.

    I’m more serious about learning Japanese actually, which is a little easier and of which I’ve also seen an insane amount of films.

  8. Lisa R-R

    I heartily recommend Linda, Linda, Linda – Bae Doo Na is very good in the film, and the film is infectiously fun.
    You will be singing the title song to yourself for weeks to follow …

book and sword : gratitude and revenge

is the first novel written by Jin Yong. The protagonist is Chan Ka Lok, who is the leader of the Red Flower Society. The book title refers to Ka Lok being famous for being well-versed in culture and martial arts, but also for having to make a difficult ethical decision. My father named me and my brother after him.

The subtitle is from a poem Desiderata