Approved For Adoption, Grave of the Fireflies

there was a time in my life when movies were a big part of my life. i love to watch movies, but after having three children, that has sadly taken a backseat, like WAY in the back. the Wisconsin Film Festival is now in full swing here in Madison. there are so many movies i'd love to watch, but here are two that i will attend:

the first, which i will see tonight, is Approved For Adoption. i am curious about this one which is based on the writer's graphic novel about his life as a Korean adopted into a French family.

Edit (14th April, 2013): after watching Approved For Adoption last night, i had to write a little more about this movie. initially, i picked this because i was intrigued by the movie being based on Jung's graphic novel and the movie being a combination of animation and documentary. and i was drawn to the story of a Korean growing up in a Belgium.  now that i have seen Approved For Adoption, i can say that i was touched on so many different levels by it.  

first, i thought the combination of animation and documentary really worked for me.  the childhood scenes were all in animation. the documentary part follows Jung as a 44 year old visiting Korea for the very first time in his life. the switching back and forth was seamlessly done.

personally, i could totally relate to Jung's feelings of alienation growing up in a small Belgian town.  there was a line he said while walking in a Korean market - when i'm in Europe, they see me as Asian, when i'm in Korea, how do they see me? that feeling of belonging, yet foreign at the same time. it's something i can never live without, it's always with me.

now that i'm a parent, i also related to the struggles of the parents who adopted Jung.  that feeling of helplessness when you feel like you haven't loved this child enough, the frustration you feel when you can't understand why this child is behaving this way.

even though i was not adopted, i related to Jung so much. perhaps because my own uprooting was involuntary. but mostly because Jung has no home, just like me. he doesn't belong in Europe or Korea, just as i don't belong here, in the US, nor in Kenya, nor in Korea.

the ending of the movie is a hopeful one and i loved how he ended it. my only complaint is i wish they had done a direct translation of the French title into English instead of changing it to Approved For Adoption. the French title is, Couleur de Peau: Miel, which means Color of Skin: Honey.

for those of you who live in Madison, i know this movie has sold out for the second showing, but they do reserve some seats which they give out minutes before film starts, so there is still a chance to see it. for those of you living elsewhere, you can find out some more about the movie's future showings at Rainbow World.

the second, is Studio Ghibli's Grave of the Fireflies. this one looks like a definite crying movie, but i am excited to watch it because it hasn't been available in the US.

if you are a local, i hope you get to watch some of the many movies the Film Fest has to offer. i'd love to hear about what you will watch this coming week!