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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art Desk’s weekly picks for movies, music and more


By ANA BACH arts@theaggie.org


Book: “The Happiest Man On Earth” by Eddie Jaku (2020)

This memoir is a highly riveting read that captures the actual path to pursuing happiness. The protagonist, Eddie, takes the reader through his experience as a Holocaust survivor. Whilst rehashing the horrific details of his experiences at several concentration camps, including Buchenwald, Gurs and eventually Auschwitz, he continues to remind the reader that they are in control of their happiness. Each chapter carries a lesson that seems simple but ultimately helps the reader find where their own happiness lies. Apart from the amazing storytelling and message that Jaku graces the world with, “The Happiest Man on Earth” encapsulates what it means to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 


Movie: “Minari” dir. by Lee Issac Chung (2020)

I watched this film on the plane ride home from my study abroad — what a way to wrap up that experience. A Korean American family moves to a small farm in Arkansas in pursuit of their own American dream. Along the way, they deal with many road bumps like natural disasters, marriage troubles and health problems. The film uses simple vibrant still shots of the landscape in addition to close-up shots for more intimate moments between the characters. The camera and soundtrack play a huge role in the overall feeling of the movie. “Jacob and the Stone,” played throughout different moments in the film, is now one of my favorite tracks. Chung directed and wrote the movie from a place of familiarity, as his own family chose to relocate in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves. In the end, the viewer is left to contemplate what truly makes a home as well as the loved ones who play a role in the choices we make. 


TV Show: “The Bear” (2022)

I have never resonated with a show quite like this one. “The Bear” depicts anxiety, familial trauma and the burden of perfectionism in a way that almost every person can relate to. Carmy, a Chicago-born chef, is called back home after his brother, Michael, passes away. To cope, he takes over the family sandwich shop, The Beef, and attempts to turn the business around. While transforming the shop, Carmy also uses this process to reflect on his current position in life, where he has been and where he wants to go. The show grapples with the difficulties of prioritizing a livelihood and a driving passion over a healthy personal life. “The Bear” represents the restaurant industry as one that invites chaos at every opportunity, but at the same time, provides satisfaction by those involved being able to take care of so many people through the magic of food. It’s safe to assume that Anthony Bourdain would have loved this one. 


Song: “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” By Bob Dylan (1973)

This song is a classic, though I did only recently discover it this past summer thanks to my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. The song itself has a beautiful instrumental component with a very simple guitar and soft vocals in the background. The message is extremely dark, alluding to death and the darkness that leads up to the ultimate end. The melody, however, provides comfort and calmness in juxtaposition to the gloomy lyrics.  I always find myself circling back to this song, especially when I am reading or want a subtle tune as background noise. Bob Dylan’s lyricism is unmatched, and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” is a perfect example of his talent. 


Written By: Ana Bach arts@theaggie.org