Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Deaf character in One Missed Call: Final

Some time back, one of my sisters texted me about the One Missed Call movie franchise. She told me she was watching the third installment in this Japanese film trilogy and encouraged me to see it, too. I added the movies to my queue on Netflix, along with the American version of One Missed Call, and pretty much forgot about it. Then I recently went over my sister's old blog posts (sorry for falling behind on your blog posts, Sis!) and read about how she thought she had a haunted cell phone, because her phone was going off even while she was charging it, even when it was off, and even when it had no more minutes on it! She talked about how odd this was. I know my own cell phone has acted strangely in the past, but never anything like that! Anyway, it reminded me of the movies, so I moved them up in my queue and recently saw all three of them.

I thought the movies were interesting. The second one was just too confusing. It was like thirty different plots thrown into one movie and all that confusion just didn't make any sense.

Then I watched the third one. Even though many reviewers on Netflix trashed this movie, I thought that, after surviving the madness of what was One Missed Call 2, I could get through this last film in the series. But what especially had me interested was that there is a deaf character in this movie. I wanted to see just what kind of role he played in a movie about a haunted cell phone. (And I must say, it was good to see creepy Mimiko in this movie again. She is just so scary!) Also, one reviewer said that it was nice to see a deaf character in a prominent role, so I was encouraged by this.

So I watched the movie, with extra attention focused on the deaf character (actually, he is a deaf-mute), and I had mixed feelings.

First off, I couldn't tell if the character was using Japanese Sign Language (since this is a Japanese film) or Korean Sign Language. Even though the boy (and actor Jang Geun-seok) is Korean and living in Korea, a little checking confirmed he was using Japanese Sign Language. I still had to wonder: Is there such a thing as Korean Sign Language? There actually is: this link and this link were interesting links to check out about Korean Sign Language. I thought it interesting how the person who wanted to learn about Korean Sign Language (KSL) noted the fact that people all over the world do not sign the same as "we" do. I have noted this in my comparison of British Sign Language (BSL) with American Sign Language (ASL). There is also SEE.

And speaking of, I noticed how some of the JSL signs were similar to their ASL counterparts. Words like "school," "group" and "email" were similar to how they are signed in ASL. All the same, I also noticed how he kept using the same sign for different words. I had to wonder if this is the norm in Japanese Sign Language. It's something to think about.

Finally, even though the actor playing Jinu can hear, I really thought he was deaf in real life. He so acted like a deaf/HOH person would around people, studying their faces closely when reading lips and not reacting to sound like everybody else does. On the first note, I have to add that I kind of thought it was funny how he practically had to strain his neck so that he could lipread Emiri (who kept looking away as she was speaking -- to herself or to him, who knows). I mean, the girl knows he is deaf and most of the time, she DID look at him as she spoke. But it reminded me of how people "talking to me" often turn away as they speak or look down and I have to try to get a view of their face again to continue lipreading them. On that other note, I at first wondered why Jinu reacted to what seemed like noise when he and Emiri are looking for another character. But I noticed how he was the one to turn first and Emiri reacted fearfully like there was something behind them, when there was not. I realized he was just being careful, something a deaf/HOH person would do in that situation. I constantly have to remember to look around and take notice of things since I can't hear footsteps or the breathing of someone behind me so we are told to be careful like that and look around. It's possible Jinu was acting that way as a defensive reaction, just in case there WAS something there behind them.

Finally, at the end of the movie, I was curious about what Jinu means when he tells Emiri "I heard what you said." This is confusing. Did he mean "I heard about" what she said? (This reminds me of the many times friends and classmates have poked fun every time I said "I heard about" after I became deaf, because, um, I wasn't able to hear, so they took the whole "hearing" about something thing literally and teased me about it.) This part of the movie doesn't make sense, especially since Jinu is nowhere near Emiri at that particular point in time he is referring to. He might be referring to some kind of hallucination or something that happened at that time. As far as I know, Emiri was mysteriously transported back to Japan from Korea, and not Jinu. Then again, it could be something lost in translation when the person responsible for making the subtitles tried to match something in English with something signed in Japanese Sign Language.

Overall, though, I was still satisfied with how this deaf character was portrayed. Kudos for including a deaf character in such a major role and kudos to Jang Geun-seok for portraying a deaf character so impressively.


Millie said...

I am glad you enjoyed it! I have quite a list of Asian horror films if you're interested. I like Asian horror more because it's more emotional and makes you think more than American ones. Anyway I think he told her that he heard her because she was screaming "Let me be the last one to die" and that's why he sacrificed himself because he loved her and didn't want her to sacrifice her life. So in the end I guess she sacrifices her legs & voice. I remember being in Sign Language class and our teacher telling us that different languages sign differently but most DO know ASL. It's kind of like how kids are required to learn English in school in most countries, same goes for ASL. Wow, that Japanese sign language seems kind of difficult, I think I'll learn the language before learning how to sign it! lol! oh, he also could have said "I heard you" because of some other deep meaning - like it could even mean that he felt who she is really is inside - being someone willing to sacrifice themselves.

Dawn Colclasure said...

I have read that Asian horror films are a lot scarier than American horror films. The guy who directed the American version of The Ring said in an interview that he had to keep turning off the Japanese version of the movie (I think it's called Ringu?) because it scared him so bad. LOL Anyway, I've pretty much have been checking out your queue for other Asian horror flicks. :) Thanks for your interpretation for that part of the movie. It was just a little confusing. Yeah, I think it's better to learn a foreign language first before learning that country's sign language. :) Good luck in your attempt to learn Japanese. Glad you liked the links. I did enjoy this movie. It was A LOT better than the second one. Though both the second and the third had a character sacrificing themselves for another because of love.