By Lee Hyo-won
"If You Were Me - Anima Vision 2
" sketches out the biting reality of discriminations that exist in the very heart of the Korean society. But it's an omnibus animation that does the job through six colorful and heartfelt tales, making it a delightful movie for people of all ages. Entertaining, moving and thought provoking, each story is a jewel of a piece.
Produced by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, "If You" allows you to see the world from a different light, from imagining how it might be to be visually impaired to feeling the heartbreak of star-crossed, homosexual couples. Each animation has its own style and medium, and gives flight to the vivid human imagination through what's only possible in this genre.
Directors Ahn Dong-hee
and Ryoo Jeong-oo bring "The Third Wish". A fairy godmother appears before a visually impaired young woman to grant her three wishes. But this is no fairytale. The irritable middle-aged fairy wants to finish her job as soon as possible. Yet she proves to be helpful as she leads the woman through a busy marketplace, which is delightfully reminiscent of "Amelie".
But it's no walk in the park, as busy urbanites show no consideration for our protagonist. Yet she prevails through obstacles. With a walking stick, she taps together the heels of her shiny new shoes and follows the "yellow brick road" (guiding tiles for the visually impaired) around the city.
"Peeling" (Hong Deok-pyo
) is a street style cartoon. It comically depicts how a certain macho "complex" can cripple men. Male circumcision becomes the ultimate standard for being "manly" and those who have failed to do the deed are forever fearful of going to public baths.
"Baby" (Lee Hong-soo
, Lee Hong-min
) portrays the difficulties a career woman faces in having a child. "I'm not saying you can't have maternity leave, but can you afford to raise a child while working?" asks her boss. This smart story portrays everything from mother and daughter-in-law relationships to a parody of "Tazza: The High Rollers" and hilarious episodes where an "ambulance bus" picks up several patients en route.
"Shine Shine Shining" (Kwon Mi-jeong
) is drawn like a warm, watercolor storybook for children. Grade schooler Eun-jin is smart and popular, but she has a secret. She hides her curly hair, which she gets from her Filipino mother, in braids.
"Merry Golasmas" is an adorable claymation, or stop motion animation of models constructed from clay, plasticine, etc. It explores physical discrimination or stereotypes. In an open audition to find a Santa Claus, the real Santas ― one who's black, another who's Asian, a female Santa and one in a wheelchair ― lose to a fake Santa, a pot-bellied, Caucasian.
Last but not least, " Lies " explores homosexuality. Drawn in pastel-like sketches with art deco-esque details, it is a stunning digital cut-out animation, A homosexual man is forced by his parents to marry a woman, while others are pressured to fake having a girlfriend or receive "therapy" to become straight.
Forget the norm that rainbows are seven-toned. "If You Were Me" shows that six can be colorful enough. Opens in Cinus Theaters April 17. 12 and over. 93 minutes.
Featured in the 2007 Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival and 2008 Singapore International Film Festival, the film will appear in the out of competition section of France's 32nd Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
This is fifth in series of Human Rights Omnibus Feature Films. The animation prequel "If You Were Me: Anima Vision" was released in 2005. Award-winning directors like Park Chan-wook
and Lim Soon-rye
have participated in "If You Were Me" (2003). To learn more, visit Open the link
(Korean and English).