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Reflective Essay on ‘Once Upon a Time’

I thought this very short five-minute experimental film is only about the past memory. The reason why is that it’s the visualization about how bad memories from way back come across one’s mind now and how to escape from them. However, as the time passed after completing this film, I came to be convinced that ultimately it’s a film about ‘self-esteem’. Besides, it is a film about the present and the future rather than about the past. It says how my past ‘records’ come up to me with a new meaning and give a self-healing function, providing me with salvation and recovery and making me go forward the future.

There are times when my mood is so complex so the only thing I can do is to write something I can’t know exactly, going with the flow of my ideas and feelings. They were my own sentences nobody read except me so maybe they could be imperfect. However, they were the things even closer to my unconsciousness and containing the then myself properly, which never went through a circuit of the excessive thinking. Since young, I’ve been often keeping a diary. During my high school days, I quitted it for a moment but began to write again in my 20s and it became the regular work after the spring of 2016. The pause in my records sometimes resulted from my obsession that I had to arrange things handwritten via word processing on Google Drive. But writing down was helpful when I was distressed because I had a lot on my mind. Furthermore, such a ‘process’ was established as the ‘time’ I could talk with myself.

However, there was little time I could read or review my diary. Perhaps the process of writing itself was more important than the result of the diary. I would encounter my diary when it came into my mind or I wondered what I wrote in those days. When I read it over again after a long time, things I wrote about often felt strange to me. There were times when I could not agree to things kept in my diary anymore but it was astonishing that the sentences I wrote may be read from a different manner now and give me certain consolation and strength. 

Ultimately this film deals with the power of the recording. Moreover, in my opinion, such power of the recording has something to do with self-esteem, or a sense of trusting myself from the depth of my mind. Of course, it is necessary to share my troubles with people around me and be helped by the ones who understand me better than I do. However, everyone has her own self she can understand only. And I think problems can’t be solved well until I can attentively soothe and precisely understand myself so reach self-healing. In the film, I would like to show the power owned by what I said to myself and wrote a long, long time ago, that is, the power of the time for recording. It is a very personal film starting from my experience but I think it is also a very universal story empathic to anyone who has ever kept a diary.

It is maybe easier to offer words of comfort or easy-on-the-ear things to others. It’s difficult to do that to myself. It’s a Herculean task. However, I will make efforts to force myself to do that from now on. Eventually, it is we ourselves who can know and understand ourselves the best.

- Written by Ji-Yoon Park, Apr 2021


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