3-Iron — Second session questions and scene summaries
Special note on Bukchon Hanok Village, one of the scene settings in this segment of the film
Tae-suk and Sun-hwa enter, at one point, a very attractive house with kind owners. It seems like an "oasis" in the film, or some sort of grounding or "marriage" location for the couple. A student submits this about that place:
I will explain about the place in "3-Iron" The place is called "Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을)" located in Seoul. "Bukchon" means the place where royal family and nobleman used to live in Joseon Dynasty period and "Hanok" means traditional houses in that place. Therefore, the place is called "Bukchon Hanok Village". [Wallace: It is a preserved, cultural center in Seoul.]
A website: http://bukchon.seoul.go.kr/eng/index.jsp [Wallace adds the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukchon_Hanok_Village]
After searching on various websites, I write my thoughts why the director put "Bukchon Hanok Village" in the film.
The life of people in the houses in Seoul where Sun-hwa and Tae-suk went around did not look happy. But Hanok Village was something different and a married couple in there warmly welcomed Sun-hwa. Like this, I think the director wants to say that we need to get back to the past when people were warmhearted represented by Hanok Village.
One more thing, "Bukchon Hanok Village" is one of famous places for foreign tourists and the city of Seoul makes a lot of money through this place. So, the city are planning to destroy old and dirty Hanok, and build accommodations and restaurants to attract more tourists at the place. So, many civic groups with Mr. Kiburn are in conflict with the Seoul government. But the big problem is that many Koreans do not actually know this issue. The director Kim Ki-duk recognized the seriousness of the problem, so he put the place in the film to open Koreans' eyes to this place and to say redevelopment must be stopped. Kim Ki-duk used "Bukchon Hanok Village" as the background in his another film "Dream (2008)"
A website by Mr. Kiburn to opposed the redevelopment of Bukchon Hanok Village: http://www.kahoidong.com/index.shtml
Questions for the second session:
Underlined areas are the likely focus of in-class discussion.
I. Select ONE of the below to include on your written submission. (Always include question number and question content.)
3IRON(2)-1. There is no substantive dialogue between the two lovers in this film. Do you think that is significant to the director's notion of romantic love in this film?
3IRON(2)-2. In today's segment the couple will visit the home of a boxer, an old man, and a country villa. The first two of these are needed to advance the plot but the third, the villa, seems to be symbolic in terms of the romance. What might it represent, and is this significant to the director's view of romance in this film or could other locations substitute?
Scene summaries — DVD menu scenes 11-20 (0:31:06-1:05:51, elapsed time 34:45)
Note: All scene summaries for all movies were made by me, usually fairly quickly while viewing the film in real time and typing as it happens. There are bound to be errors. I remind students of the extra credit offer described at the scene summary section of the page "House of Flying Daggers-Module 01".
DVD Scene 11 (0:31:10)
Tae-suk and Sun-hwa break into a different house. It seems to be that of a boxer. Tae-suk checks the answering machine to learn that a couple is in Hawaii for their third anniversary. He shadow-boxes with the photo of the boxer. He tries to turn on the radio but it is broken; he fixes it.
Sun-hwa leaves him and takes scissors from a jar. She brings him the scissors. Tae-suk cuts her hair very lovingly. They still have not talked to each other.
Sun-hwa is in front of the mirror with her new hair cut; it looks good. Next, she takes a picture of herself in front of the boxer; Tae-suk joins her in the photo. They take photos together.
They watch boxing together on the TV.
Sun-hwa gets liquor out of the cabinet while Tae-suk puts music on. In pajamas, they drink together, each filling his or her own apéritif cup several times. Sun-hwa begins to cry. Tae-suk puts his arm around her for the first time; she leans on his shoulder.
Tae-suk puts Sun-hwa to bed gently and is about to leave but she grabs his wrist and pulls him to bed.
A car arrives outside—the boxer has returned. He and his wife notice Tae-suk and Sun-hwa sleeping in their bed. The boxer puts on his boxing gloves and asks his wife to check to see if anything has been stolen. Off-screen we hear him pounding Tae-suk. The boxer asks why they are wearing the couple's pajamas. Tae-suk and Sun-hwa have nothing to say.
DVD Scene 12 (0:36:20)
Sun-hwa has bought some food at a convenience store. She offers it to Tae-suk, whose face is bruised. He eats. She smiles. She leans against him comfortably. Tae-suk starts the golf hitting again (ball wired to a tree). Sun-hwa stands in front of him again. He moves the ball again. Sun-hwa stands in front of him again. He moves the ball again. Sun-hwa doesn't move in front this time. He swings. The ball breaks off the wire, hits a car, and kills (?) a young woman, Mi-young, who is in the passenger seat with her young lover or husband. Very troubled, they leave/flee the scene.
Tae-suk is sitting alone, crying. Sun-hwa sits down next to him and comforts him.
DVD Scene 13 (0:39:35)
A neighborhood, clearly no longer Seoul. They are in a provincial town, hanging the usual advertisements.
Tae-suk and Sun-hwa return as usual at night. There is a lovely courtyard on the inside; it is a very traditional, well-appointed home. They sit side-by-side at a table and drink tea in a ceremony that seems something like a marriage ceremony. (The married couple's portrait is on the table next to them in a similar arrangement to how they are sitting on the couch.) They still have not spoken to each other. They kiss.
Fade to black.
DVD Scene 14 (0:42:25)
A low-class apartment complex. Tae-suk and Sun-hwa are hanging the advertisements. A man returns, takes off the advertisement, throws it to the floor, our couple steps on it.
This apartment is rather narrow. Tae-suk and Sun-hwa check the rooms of the apartment. In the second room, Tae-suk sees something and quickly closes the door. Sun-hwa insists on looking. She covers her mouth, then goes into the room.
It is a dead man with blood at his head and a little, lost-looking dog sitting loyally next to him.
Tae-suk and Sun-hwa investigate the apartment and find a number of a relative to call, but (like so many in this film) the relative is away for three days, according to the answering machine.
They clean the corpse and prepare it in the proper, traditional manner, for burial. (Hemp cloth, the right number of bindings, etc.) The music has turned to strained violins for the first time.
Sun-hwa cleans the bloody floor. The phone rings. Tae-suk picks up. It is the son asking if his father has called. Tae-suk hangs up without talking. The floor is clean.
They sleep together in this apartment.
DVD Scene 15 (0:46:18)
Sun-hwa makes a meal and serves Tae-suk. They eat in the kitchen, smiling. There is a knock on the door: "Father!" A couple has come to check on the apartment. (the dead man is the father of the woman / wife.)
The man who has knocked on the door has a key and just enters, and catches the two there. They keep them inside and call the police; they are arrested.
Tae-suk and Sun-hwa are being interrogated. The police go through their belongings and find the camera with the various photos of Tae-suk and Sun-hwa in places together. The main investigator asks Office Lee to check the addresses and see if there are things stolen.
A detective takes Sun-hwa outside and begins to rough up Tae-suk. He still hasn't talked. Sun-hwa watches from outside as he gets hit.
The primary investigator has evidently learned from Tae-suk that the body is still at the apartment area.
DVD Scene 16 (0:49:28)
At a plot or garden near the apartment, police are digging up the body. It has been carefully, perfectly, buried.
Back at the police station interrogation room, the primary investigator has found Sun-hwa's picture in something (probably a missing person's list) and picks up the phone to call her husband.
The husband is practicing golf outside when his cell phone rings.
Back at the interrogation room, the primary investigator says Tae-suk has committed murder, kidnapping, body dumping, theft and probably other things. He thinks Tae-suk has abused Sun-hwa which is why she is so silent. But Office Lee (?) brings in a report that says Tae-suk has never done anything wrong and that the houses do not report anything stolen.
The husband (Lee Min-kyu) arrives. He is very angry. The detective hands over his wife to his custody. He pulls her angrily from the room. Before leaving, he begins throwing golf balls at Tae-suk. Sun-hwa and Tae-suk exchange loving looks before she is pulled away.
Office Lee explains that the old man had lung cancer, that is was not murder, that Tae-suk buried him better than any son would.
The primary office makes his assistant go outside. But he is sure Tae-suk raped Sun-hwa. Tae-suk smiles at the detective.
DVD Scene 17 (0:53:18)
The husband is misting plants, looking self-satisfied. Sun-hwa will not make eye contact with him. He is trying to be nice, says he was too harsh before. He tries to hug her but she pulls away. And he says that he has sent a lot of money to her family. She stands up and walks away. He angrily makes a cell phone call.
He and the detective are sitting together in a car. It seems the husband has convinced him to allow him to take revenge on Tae-suk. The detective tells him to do what he wants, and gets out of the car. The husband looks happy.
The police deliver Tae-suk, hand-cuffed, to a remote location where the husband waits. He begins hitting him with golf balls. The police watch from a distance.
After this abuse, the detective grabs Tae-suk. He dares him to smile again. Tae-suk attacks and almost chokes the detective to death with handcuffs.
DVD Scene 18 (0:56:54)
Tae-suk in in prison, practicing golf with an imaginary club and ball. Other prisoners watch. We hear the sound effects of the golf ball being hit even though this is impossible. A prisoner pretends to steal the imaginary golf ball; Tae-suk attacks. The guards come.
Now Tae-suk is in solitary confinement. He looks around in his cell, slips off his shoes, and begins moving against the walls in a martial arts sort of way.
Back at the house of Sun-hwa, the husband approaches her while she is asleep. She turns away. He looks angry.
Back at the prison, the guard checks Tae-suk's cell. He cannot see him through the window in the door. He goes in, but he was just hiding. The guard slaps him.
He climbs the wall, magically. He is in training of some sort.
DVD Scene 19 (0:59:49)
Back at the house, the husband has been drinking heavily. He goes back into the room of the woman. She pretends to be asleep. She turns away. He sits next to her, puts he hand between her legs and asks if Tae-suk did this to her and if she sat quietly when he did. She pulls away. He slaps her. She slaps him, and leaves the room.
Back at the prison, Tae-suk continues his training and the judge cannot see him again. When he enters the room, he sill cannot see him, then finds him up high. He beats him with a stick and says if he does that again, he will kill him.
His training deepens. He goes through various forms, something like a bird, perhaps.
We see his feet carefully stepping and this transitions to Sun-hwa's feet stepping onto the weigh machine Tae-suk once fixed. She fixes it. Then takes a jacket out of her closet.
DVD Scene 20 (1:03:17)
(Summary by Jing, Spring 2012. Thank you Jing!)
Sun-hwa walking down the street of the traditional-looking houses, wearing a black dress. The door of the house she and Tae-suk visited previously is open, and she walks in. The man who lives in the house is there, tending to a large vat with red fish and water plants inside. He asks her if he can help her, but Sun-hwa just walks silently past him into the house. Sun-hwa lays down to sleep on the couch where she and Tae-suk had sat drinking tea before. Quiet, contemplative music plays. The man is puzzled, but he seems to decide that Sun-hwa is not dangerous and goes back to tending his courtyard. His wife comes back a little later, and asks him who Sun-hwa is. He replies that he doesn't know, but stops her from going to disturb Sun-hwa. They let her sleep. A shot of the red fish in the vat. The soft music continues. Sun-hwa wakes up. Both the husband and wife are tending to the various plants in the little courtyard. Sun-hwa gets up and bows to them before leaving quietly.
Sun-hwa's husband Min-gyu is outside practicing golf when Sun-hwa comes back. Min-gyu asks Sun-hwa where she's been, and when she doesn't reply he grabs her arm. She turns around and looks at him, then walks into the house.