The sea hears our stories, and lets us experience a variety of emotions. People sometimes visit the sea when they are going through a hard time or feel stuffy and they feel joy and hope as they view the rising sun along the horizon or hear the sound of waves crashing against the shore. Especially the energy of the cool sea during the hot summer can have a huge effect on people. Therefore, stories that are set near the sea allow readers to become immersed in the storyline and feel deeper emotions.
"Maybe I looked at everything through the mirror. Because it's painful to face it correctly."
<Umi No Mieru Rihatsuten (Barber Shop With a View of the Sea) (2016)>
A talented barber, who used to manage celebrities, now runs a small barber shop on a deserted beach. The mysterious barber shop and blue sea residing inside a large mirror provides services for only one guest. One day, a young man comes to this special barber shop. The barber talks a lot to the young man as he trims the man's hair. The guest is from a faraway place. The barber details his two marriages, two divorces, and prison sentence for murder to the young man. The barber goes on to tell the customer that he is afraid that guests may look at his reflection in the mirror and condemn him for being a murderer, so he replaced the reflective glass with the sea in the mirror. The young man, who learns the hidden details of the life of the barber who once hung out with celebrities, just listens attentively to the story. Once the barber ends his talk and the haircut is finished, the barber asks the young man how his mother is doing and to turn around so he can see the young man's face and find out if any more final trimming is needed. Why does the barber ask the young man about his mother and what secret is the young man about to reveal?
This book won The Naoki Sanjugo Prize, drawing favorable reviews from many writers and readers. It is a masterpiece that conveys the joys and sorrows of life through warm humor. This book covers six stories including the above one and each story deals with families and life difficulties. The main characters of each story experience a moment of dejection from their life, which results in deterioration of relationships with family. No one has an easy straightforward life, but the characters in these stories do not only present their despair. Each character overcomes difficulties in their own way, which enable readers to realize the importance of family and understand the process of growth from the characters' effort. Above all, the stories deeply stimulate readers' emotions by combining difficult moments in life and the subject of family. This book is relatively easy to read because there are few characters and little background change, and this contributes to readers' imagination. Readers are immersed in the novel's landscape from the writer's detailed descriptions of the scenery and scent of the barber shop. In the story, the sea in front of the barber shop is a positive image for readers as well as the novel's characters and delivers bright energy. This book is a story of light. The light that gets us through dejection and provides rest and healing to readers who live tired lives.
"Life is short, the world is wide, and I want to make some memories."
<Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)>
Five years after the Mamma Mia film storyline ends, Sophie's mother, Donna, passes away. Sophie is seen preparing to reopen her mother's hotel to fulfill Donna's dream. At the same time, Sophie's boyfriend Sky wants to relocate permanently to New York as he has just received a job offer. Sophie is upset about Sky and finds out she is pregnant. Ahead of the hotel's reopening, Sophie sends invitations for the grand opening of the hotel to her three fathers and her mother's best friends, Tanya and Rosie. As she prepares for the hotel opening party, Sophie confesses to Tanya and Rosie that she doesn't know how to be a real mother. Donna's friends proceed to tell Sophie about Donna's past. In a flashback, viewers see Donna graduating from college and dreaming of traveling the wide world. Her journey takes her first to Paris where she meets Harry and falls in love, but she leaves Harry to set off for Greece where she meets Bill, a Swedish sailor. She arrives at Kalokaire, a Greek island, and finds an abandoned farmhouse that one day becomes her hotel. At the farmhouse, she bumps into Sam and they enjoy a beautiful romance, but it ends quickly when Donna discovers that Sam is engaged to another woman. Donna later discovers that she is pregnant but does not know who the father is. The film returns to the present as a typhoon hits the island. Sophie is worried that the party will not proceed safely. Will Sophie's three dads and Sky attend the party? Will Sophie tell Sky about her pregnancy and work out their relationship well?
This movie is the sequel to <Mamma Mia!>, a musical romantic comedy film loved by people all over the world. Mamma Mia, a musical in England, was based on the songs of ABBA, a pop group that gained world renown success in the 1970s and 1980s. Their most famous songs include "Dancing Queen", "I Have a Dream", and "Thank You for the Music", and these all appear in the movie. The music of ABBA and the blue Mediterranean Sea stimulate the audience's excitement and blow away the summer heat. In addition, character growth attracts audiences. Sophie, who was once innocent and bright, becomes a proud daughter in charge of her mother's hotel. Tanya and Rosie advise Sophie on behalf of her mother, and Sophie's three fathers become strong, reliable fathers. The film is a frame story, i.e., a story within a story, so it moves from the present with Sophie to the past with Donna. The dreams, loves, and choices of Donna in the past subtly overlap with the problems faced by Sophie in the present. The film presents the growth of a mother and daughter at the same time and the love of mother and daughter that transcends time and space. Also, the story conveys to viewers that no matter the level of difficulty, everything will eventually work out. Through this movie, audiences can reflect on their youthful days as well as their parents' youth and gain positive energy.
Choi Song Bojeong / Culture Section Editor
Yoon Kim Eunji / Cub Reporter