Watched an amazing Danish film last night called Festen, which I won’t spoil for you, but if you want to read more about it, you can click here.
It was the first time I’ve ever heard white people speaking Danish! I thought that only adopted Koreans spoke Danish (as well as French, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, German and Italian) — ha ha that’s what living among adoptees does to you. If I ever meet an ethnic Dane from Denmark, s/he’ll be like a character in a movie to me.
Anyway, Festen is the best movie I’ve seen for a really long time, and I confess that I watch a movie almost every day. What it really made me think about is how families will try often try to maintain a good appearance, even to themselves, when actually everything is completely screwed up. Elements in the movie portraying this wealthy family include classism, racism, incest, complicity on the part of mothers, domestic violence, etc. Things can be completely screwed up right underneath everybody’s nose and everybody knows it, yet there is something that makes people want to just keep the status quo as it is and disturb nothing, no matter who pays the price for everyone else ignoring what is going on. Ultimately it is the truth-teller who is scapegoated and who people accuse of being crazy. (Actually, it’s everyone else who’s crazy.)
The movie is incredibly complex, which is why I’m probably able to overlay my own concerns onto it — you could probably overlay any human concern onto it. Of course I thought about how people act in international adoption and how almost everybody is just trying to keep the status quo going, even though what is happening is completely screwed up at the world level and also sometimes on the family level, and how almost everybody’s trying their hardest to ignore that. The people who tell the truth are the ones who end up tied to a tree during dinner parties.
OK, that probably didn’t make any sense to you, so now you’ll have to watch it!