Happy Life. 줄거운 인생.

Thursday, September 29, 2011 Nicajoice 0 Comments

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” ~Margaret Young

Last Saturday, I was fortunate to have the time to watch two out of the seven movies featured in this year’s Korean Film Festival – Secret Reunion and Happy Life. Both were remarkable but I could relate more to the latter.

Happy Life starred Jung Jin-young(정진영), Kim Yoon-seok(김윤석), Kim Sang-ho(김상호) and Jang Geun-seok(장근석).

Midway through the movie, all we could see were the struggles of the three characters. One was jobless and desperately looking for a job, the other one had to work as a delivery man in the morning and a driver at night, and the third was a car salesman who was in the verge of losing his wife and children who immigrated to Canada. All of them, enduring and sacrificing for their families. One person behind me couldn’t contain it anymore and said “They always have problems when they get home. Is that a happy life?”

Yeah, it makes you wonder. What is a happy life? Is it something void of pain and suffering? Does it always have to be a “walk in the park” or a “piece of cake”? I guess we are all aware that living a happy life is not exactly living a perfect one or what we perceive to be perfect. It is beyond perfection. It is doing something that we are so passionate about. It is loving the people around us despite their flaws. It is hoping and constantly acting on achieving the life that we love.

But then we just couldn’t see it at the moment. We always forget that everything doesn’t have to be the way we want it to be.

Going back to the movie, the three main characters in it were middle-aged men whose passion was music, which they have totally buried in the sand of time due to practical reasons. They had to feed their children and doing the thing they were most passionate about won’t be enough to fend their families. And so, after high school, they led different lives and almost forgot about each other until they found out that their friend, the vocalist of their band (Active Volcano) died. And they weren’t even there on his last hours. “Did you even meet him when he asked you to?”one of them said. “Don’t you know that at this age, friends are more valuable than wives?” At that pressing moment, they thought of reviving their old band. But still caught up with their own problems, they thought it was impossible. But the jobless, lead guitarist, persisted and somehow he was able to convince the other two and succeeded in getting their friend’s son as their vocalist (played by Jang Geun Seuk).


Eventually, the three of them realized that at the end of the day, life doesn’t end at chasing after more and more money. That when dreams are left unfulfilled, it will remain as a throbbing, pulsating pain in the chest. And that no matter how unreachable it may seem, achieving that one great thing they so desire makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.

Please do watch the movie and see how they managed to be ultimately happy in the end. It is a very inspiring film, heartbreaking at times, but totally fun, hilarious and illuminating.

I went out of the cinema smiling. It was a simple reminder that it is never too late to go after what we desire. To reach for that thing that could complete us. To stand up and have that courage to be happy.

But then, I was shaken and heartbroken on the day that followed. And somehow, behind my tears and with that heavy heart I thought happiness was something so elusive. That it doesn’t really linger. But then, just like in the movie, reality showed me that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. And happiness is a choice. Happiness is a state of mind… a state of being. And more so, I had friends. Friends who comforted me through and beyond the loneliness that gripped me so tight. I am grateful that they are with me in the process of finding myself… as I discover what I need to do and eventually reap what I really want in this lifetime.

Loss, failures, dilemmas, crises… with these and in spite of these, it is still a happy life.

Photos taken here and here

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