Monday, October 6, 2008

Fabulous Fun and PIFF

It's festival season in Pusan, and lately I've been really busy just trying to do everything from TreX games to the Pusan International Film Festival, with some mountain-top camping in between!

Lets start with TreX

I only saw a few things from the TreX games, including some outdoor exhibitions that blew my mind. Some Hapkido performances were spectacular, with high leaps, fast kicks/punches, smooth tumbles and unbelievable athleticism. The BMX exhibition was spectacular! High tricks and a lot of hard falls. Again, fantastic athletes! See Chris' pictures for some great shots.

I also saw something I never thought possible. Picture this: four girls. a see-saw with chair cushions under the part that hits the ground on the down tilt. That's it. Two at a time the girls, using their OWN BODY STRENGTH, would jump and propel one another in the air. Once in the air she would do FLIPS and gymnastic tricks, then land on the board again to propel the opposite girl into the air. All this, over CEMENT! No protective netting or cushioning. Just cement. If one of the girls aimed wrong, or came out of a flip at the wrong time, she'd land on cement after a 15-20 foot fall. SCARY! I also saw the kite festival at Haeundae (some AMAZING kites) and some BMX/skateboarding/in-line skating competitions in BEXCO. All were fantastic. Mind-boggling. Unfortunately, my camera was out of batteries...

The Pusan International Film Festival was fun last year, though sadly, I missed most showings due to work. The same thing happened this year. Chris and I decided to see a film called "Religulous", despite knowing nothing about it, because it "guaranteed laughs." I didn't laugh. It was stupid, biased and cut-and-paste to prove the director's point. Only a brainless sheep, like the ones he mocked in the movie, would believe anything portrayed in the movie as "enlightened". A waste of time.

However, one good thing about the movie was that as we were in line to get the tickets a man came up to us and told us that he had to go to Seoul and couldn't use his tickets for a movie called "Johnny Mad Dog". We went and saw it. I have to say, this was an EXTREMELY difficult movie to watch. In fact, I closed my eyes for some parts. It's about child soldiers in Liberia and it was brutal, heartrending, and REAL. Of the 14 main children actors in it all are either ex-child soldiers or homeless/familyless street kids from Liberia. All have seen, or even participated in, the events portrayed in the movie. It was rated +12, but I would put the highest possible rating on it. There are EXTREMELY disturbing scenes, including mass killing, hard drug use and rape. No 12-year-old should be allowed to see those things, no matter how life-hardened they are. It reminded me of all I have been reading about Somalia and Darfur. Which I think is the point. More about those places in the news later...

Anyway, this past week has been great. I'm trying to get in all of Korea I can before coming home, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job...!