3-Iron — Third session questions and scene summaries
Questions for the third 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(3)-1. This is the most "linear" of the films we have viewed. That is, there are no flashbacks or essential elements from the past, or future scenarios. It has a narrow frame of reference in terms of time. Even Three Times has memories of a lost love (first and third segments) and the importance of past promises and future possible actions in the second segment. This movie, on the other hand, is more about the "now". What can we say about linearity and this narrative, in terms of what effect if might or might not have on romance?
II. Select ONE of the below to include on your written submission. (Always include question number and question content.)
3IRON(3)-2. Comment on the final words of the film: "It's hard to tell that the world we live in is either a reality or a dream."
Scene summaries — DVD menu scenes 21-28 (1:05:51-1:25:00, elapsed time 19:09 credits then run 02:25)
These scene summaries were first submitted by Wendy, a Spring 2012 student, then amended slightly by me.
DVD Scene 21
In the prison, the guard, again, cannot find Tae-suk. He sees his shirt, with the ID 2904 on the ground, but he doesn't see him. Tae-Suk is quietly following the guard behind him, and Tae-Suk's shadow gives it away. The guard beats him again, and tells him that he'll have to train harder and take care of his shadow. Tae-suk says nothing but smiles.
Tae-suk trains even more, this time with an drawn eye on the palm of his hand. Tae-suk then seems to disappear. (The camera angle changes from one that looks at him to one that seems to be him looking at his own cell room.)
DVD Scene 22
Back at Sun-hwa's house, her husband Min-kyu demands that they move immediately so Sun-hwa can't wait for Tae-suk to finish his jail time. Sun-hwa looks sad. Min-kyu calls the moving company, but Sun-hwa pulls the phone roughly away from his ear and walks briskly away. Min-kyu gets even angrier and decides to wait for Tae-suk, too (but of course not in a friendly way).
DVD Scene 23
The guard is giving Tae-suk his meal, but Tae-suk does not respond. The guard threatens that he'll really kill Tae-suk this time. Tae-suk is nowhere in sight. Tae-suk taps the guard on his shoulder and punches him (but the soundtrack is that of a golf ball being hit). A fight between the two of the begins. We see the guard getting thrown out of the cell roughly but we do not actually see Tae-suk doing it. The guard closes the cell door, presumably trapping Tae-suk inside.
Tae-suk is called out of his cell by three guards. Two of them walk him down the hallway of the prison, supposedly for a harsher punishment for his misbehavior and beating of the one guard?
Sun-hwa is hand washing clothes, the way Tae-suk does. Min-kyu asks her why she's hand washing them when they have a laundry machine. She doesn't respond.
DVD Scene 24
Detective Lee is shown in the police station garage. Out of nowhere, a golf ball rolls over. He picks it up only to realize someone is hitting the golf balls at him. (We see the club and the golf balls, but no the person swinging the club.) He tries to hide around the corner of the hallway, but still gets hit since the balls bounce off the walls.
Min-kyu is practicing golf when he gets a call from the police telling him that Tae-suk is out of jail. Min-kyu anticipates the fight.
Back at the boxer's house, the wife is arguing with her husband, asking why he turned off his phone. He says his battery ran out. She slaps him and suspects him of cheating. The boxer feels uneasy and he thinks someone is in the house. His wife doesn't care and continues to argue. The boxer pauses the fight and goes out to look for the person. The wife thinks he is just making up excuses, but when she turns around, the eyes in the large portrait of him hanging on the wall are weirdly whited out (paper pasted onto the eyes; there is a similar scene in Kim's Spring, Summer .... where the mouth is covered as well). In this scene, too, as in the cell, we have a hand-held camera angle as if from a person looking, without seeing who is doing the looking.
DVD Scene 25
At the old style house, the wife feels a person's presence but doesn't see anyone. Again we have the hand-held camera angle; this time the individual has gone towards the couch where Tae-suk and Sun-hwa drank tea together. Her husband surprises her from behind. Everything seems normal until her husband sees the sofa untidy, but the wife tidied it up earlier in the morning.
DVD Scene 26
At the photographer's apartment, the photographer is talking on the phone to a person who seems like his lover. He feels a strange presence. (Again, the hand-held camera is as if someone is standing behind him, looking down at him.) Sun-hwa's picture is unscrambled, all but two pieces – her knee and shoulder. The photographer practices golf, and his girlfriend comes over. They go to his bedroom and start making out, but abruptly stop when both feel that there's someone is there. The look around the apartment, trying to find someone. The girlfriend screams when he sees the frame that used to hold Sun-hwa's picture is empty now. The lights go off and the girlfriend screams again.
DVD Scene 27
Finally, at Sun-hwa's house, Min-kyu feels Tae-suk's presence, bringing out his golf club right away. He sees nothing and goes back to his bedroom. Sun-hwa sees Tae-suk's shadow through her door, but doesn't say anything. Min-kyu goes to bed, hugging Sun-hwa.
Sun-hwa sees that Min-kyu is asleep and goes out of the bedroom. She feels Tae-suk's presence and smiles, walking towards a mirror. Tae-suk appears behind her and she touches his face. Min-kyu comes out with his golf club, but he only sees Sun-hwa smiling at the mirror. Min-kyu asks her what she's doing awake. She turns around, looking at him, and says "I love you." Min-kyu is taken aback, but he is happy, and calls her "Honey". He hugs her. Sun-hwa reaches out her hand and Tae-suk comes from behind to hold it. Tae-suk leans forward to kiss her. (This is the typical poster shot of the film, with Min-kyu sandwiched between Sun-hwa and Tae-suk who are kissing over his should while he is totally unaware of that.)
DVD Scene 28
The next day, Sun-hwa is in the kitchen preparing a lot of breakfast. Min-kyu eats happily. Sun-hwa smiles. Min-kyu tells her to stop smiling and eat. Min-kyu says he feels like someone is in their house. Actually, Tae-suk is standing behind Min-kyu and is also eating the breakfast, stealing from Min-kyu's plates. Sun-hwa helps him get the food. Min-kyu leaves for work, kissing her before he leaves.
As soon as the husband is gone, Tae-suk turns on the radio the romantic (theme music plays), and she looks for him. Tae-suk is following behind her. She realizes this, spreads out her arms so he can't go around, and backs towards a wall, trapping him against the wall. She reaches to the wall where he hand should be but there is only her shadow there. She turns around, looks at him, and they kiss.
We see a shot of Tae-suk and Sun-hwa's feet, as they stand together on the scale, which registers only 0kg.
This final scene blurs to fade out and we read:
"It's hard to tell that the world we live in is either a reality or a dream."