Castaway on the Moon: Escapism in Korean Society

The 2009 film, Castaway on the Moon, focuses on two characters that have deliberately isolated themselves from the rest of society. Despite a fair amount of saddening scenes, there are elements of love and comedy present in the film.

As seen above, the male character becomes stranded on an island outside the city. At first, he is eager to return to civilization. He desperately tries signaling to a nearby ship for help and calling 911. As time passes, he resolves that he must try to adapt to his new environment. He creates a bed out of a paddleboat and begins to catch his own food. Later in the film when another ship passes the island, the man runs away so he cannot be seen because he has embraced life on the island.

The female character has not left her room in three years. She sleeps in a bed of bubblewrap in her closet, keeps piles on canned food on her floor, and stares at a computer all day. She keeps a camera at her window because she likes to take photographs of the moon. One day while looking through the viewfinder of her camera, she spots the man on the island and begins to watch him. Because she identifies with him on a personal level, she is driven to say hello. Sneaking out of her room, she delivers a message in a bottle by throwing it onto the island from the highway overpass above it. When he finds it, a series of correspondence begins.

Both characters have chosen to isolate themselves out of shame. The male character has been labeled as incapable by his father, a company, and his girlfriend. The island rid him of that pain because his actions were driven by him rather than driven by society. This period of self-discovery he called, “the perfect boredom.”

Although the reason for locking herself in her room is never revealed, the female character feels insufficient to some capacity. This theory is supported by her need to blog under an alias instead of revealing her true identity. Additionally, when she sneaks out of her room she wears a motorcycle helmet so her face can never be seen. She begins to change because of the male character because he gives her courage and strength. For instance, once she sees him succeed at planting corn, she steps out of her room and asks her mother for some pots and corn seeds.

But when the male character writes, “Who are you?” in the sand, the female character becomes reclusive again because she fears her true identity is not good enough. However, she stops punishing herself once the male character is discovered on the island and dragged back to society. In this moment, the female character sets herself free and chases after him because she feels that as long as they have each other, everything will be okay.

In conclusion, this film illustrates escapism through the two characters who have chosen to isolate themselves out of shame. Their similarities bring them together by the end of the movie. Aside from the excessive references and sound effects of bowel movements, this was an entertaining and uplifting story.

Primary Source:

Castaway on the Moon. 2009

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