What does haunting mean exactly? Does haunting consists of ghosts and terror? Haunting is like a whiff of cigarette smoke lingering in the air which won’t subside, or an ancient ruin that once stood proudly in splendor only to be left abandoned and rotten as time progresses. This is the feeling I get from watching the film. It’s a film comprised of four haunting stories.
The first story is called Black Hair. It’s a tale about a man who abandons poverty by leaving his kind loving wife to gain higher social status. Like most ambitious men, the husband desires to rise the social hierarchy. Unfortunately, when he did achieve his new social status by marrying a woman belonging to a wealthy family, the man realizes that the grass is not always greener on the other side. He found his new wife cold and selfish, which makes him yearns for his former wife. What makes this story so haunting is the regret that the man felt–choosing to abandon real warmth for shallow security. His thoughts of his old wife haunted him to the point his conscience begins to eat him up and eventually break him down. In the end, his unwise decision to abandon his former wife indirectly killed her, leaving her alone to die in poverty. All of these points mentioned are done with few words. There is not a lot of talking. Each frame illustrates these points. It’s beautifully well done.
In contrast to Black Hair, The Woman of the Snow is a tale about a warm but cold wife. Woman can become so cold it can send real winter shock to the spine if we are not attentive ( I am guilty of it sometimes). The story is about a young woodcutter who was in near death from the blizzard cold while attempting to cut woods with his father. The father died from the cold, but the Snow Woman, which he encountered in the shelter, pity the young man. She kept him alive on one condition–to never tell anyone that he has faced the Snow Woman, or else she will kill him. Long story short, a year later, when he recovered, he met a beautiful fair skin woman (Snow Woman) just passing along mysteriously. The woodcutter fell in love with her, and had three children together. One evening, while he was making sandals for the children and for his wife, the woodcutter innocently smile at his wife and told her how he met Snow woman in the shelter on that snowy day. The wife got upset because he has broken the promise to never tell a soul–she got up and attempted to kill him, but couldn’t because they had children together. So she left the children and the husband. It’s a shame that a happy family can get destroyed because of one broken promise. It’s an unfortunate tale that we see quite frequently in couples. Sadly, he spoke wrongly unintentionally, as he meant to compliment her on her beauty.
Note: For this film analysis, I will break it into three posts. It’s a long film which runs about 3 hours. I have a lot to say and writing a long post is not my style.