Tuesday, 2 October 2007

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2002)

The title suggests that's a comedy. The only reason is classified as horror is because it has ghosts in it. Not because of any horror. This movie isn't trying to scare you, or even make you laugh. But make you think (ok, just make me think).

This is quite a departure from Johnnie To's usual cops and robbers flick.

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2002)Some Chinese believe in the existence of Yin Yang Eyes. I.e. people who can see ghosts. Since only her left eye can see ghosts, it becomes very convenient to identify what she sees are ghosts or people by covering up the appropriate eye.

Judging from the number of HK movies dealing with the concept of Yin Yang eyes, I often wonder what the term means. I don't know if it exists, but like many myths and legends, it usually are metaphors for some deeper truths. E.g. the story of the Biblical Garden of Eden is symbolic of the loss of innocence. To me the Yin Yang Eyes is a metaphor for self-denial or scare to face the truth. I.e. some true is so uncomfortable to deal with, denying its existence is the easiest ( but worst way) to cope with it. Inner demon is one of those things. Thus, ghost is just another word for ugly or scary truth, or inner demon (regardless of the existence of ghosts, the metaphor holds).
So people with a gift of Yin Yang Eyes has a gift to see that scary truth. Whether one's embracing that gift is another matter.

This also ties in well with another Chinese - I say superstitious - belief that people down on their luck would tend to have higher chance of seeing ghosts. This work well with the idea of self denial. If you are unlucky, things don't go your way, you tend to have to face more ugly or scary truth.

The story is about how the main character in this film is in self denial in several truths.

And then there's another Chinese folklore or mythology regarding death. After we die, we would cross a bridge and drink a 'tea' from an old woman that would makes us forget everything that ever happened in our lives. Keep in mind that funeral is for the living, not for the dead. And that forget-all tea is advice for the living. Don't take all those things to the grave. The crossing of the bridge is symbolic in every culture of moving from one phase in our life into another phase.

Did Johnnie To meant to say all that in his movie? You bet.

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