Saturday, October 04, 2008

June the Pillow

Directed by Kim, Hyun-Joo
Total Running Time: 8 minutes

Video Link (English Subtitled):
(If you wait for a few second, the video will be played.)

2003 Women Digital Contents Competition President Award

2004 Brazil Anima Mundi
2004 Holland Animation Film Festival
2004 Shinchon Art Festival International Student Film Festival
2004 New York International Children's Film Festival

June the Pillow shows a child's attachment for an object and a happening caused by the attachment. Julie has an imaginary pillow friend named June. She draws a smile on the pillow and takes it with her wherever she goes and for whatever she does. The day before Julie's camping, it rains heavily and her mother tells her not to go to the camp. So disappointed, Julie cries in her room and dreams about her playing with June. On the camping day, she sneaks out from her mother and goes camping with her pillow friend. When her teacher, Miss Baker, sees Julie with her pillow, she tells her that she should not bring it to the camp because it is not adequate. But nothing can separate Julie from staying with June. The next day, Julie goes out to draw pictures with her friends but comes back to her camp to get her crayon. And there she sees her teacher resting her head on Julie's pillow. Seeing her June with Miss Baker, Julie first frowns, but soon feels happy to see the teacher liking her pillow.

Julie's strong attachment to the pillow reminds me of Linus Van Pelt's blanket in Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz. Linus always keeps his blanket with him, and if the blanket is not around him, he becomes extremely uneasy. I once had a doll and I had to have the doll with me in order to go to bed. I even took the doll in my bag to my family trip no matter what my mom and dad said.

As I was watching June the Pillow, I had a question: what is a grown-up? And I came up with an answer: losing subjectivity. In childhood, children cross the boundary between reality and imagination, and they can be friends with whatever is around them. With their new friends, children develop imagination. And the process of being adult means not only learning social convention that society requires, but also losing subjectivity of childhood. Usually, mothers and teachers are the ones who require their children to choose objectivity over subjectivity from childhood and become socialized with others.

To children, everything around them becomes their friends. Especially things that exist near them in the darkness become more special, like a pillow for they make children feel protective. However, grown-ups consider it immature or peculiar to be attached to a thing, as you can see the way the mother and the teacher treat Julie in June the Pillow. Adults, presented as Julie's mother and Miss Baker, the teacher, all had similar memories in their childhood like Julie, but they just do not remember them and see children’s act as strange.

Julie could have been separated from her June because of the camping. And her teacher makes her feel ashamed of bringing the pillow with her to the camp. Miss Baker views Julie and her pillow through the eye of a socialized adult, and tries to fit Julie to the law of adults. However, Julie and the teacher come to understand each other at the end of the film. Resting her head on Julie's pillow reminds Miss Baker of her childhood and makes her to realize how much she has changed since her childhood. She also remembers her childhood attachment, a blanket, through Julie, and they finally have a connection. We always think children should learn from adult, but in this case, Julie, a child, teaches Miss Baker, a grown-up, to bring back memories of her childhood. After all, what we need in this world is not objectivity filled with complicated theories or regulations, but subjectivity of childhood.


ym said...

Personally, I thought about "My Sweet Orange Tree.". Zeze also had strong attachment to the Orange Tree. Even thought he was just a child, adults could not understand him. We may think him Strange, but it was his own world.

I really ask my self as same as you.What`s grown up? I think that may mean the lost of my own world.

I wanna see this film! kekeke!!

ksr said...

As I watched the short film, I was deeply touched by the pureness of childhood! It made me wonder when my childhood ended.
Your review helped me think about the childhood and growing-up. And I agree with you about Julie teaching Miss Baker at the end.

Anonymous said...

Very persuasive review leading the readers to the world of childhood!

Additionally, I liked the pretty color tones.

Jeremy said...

I went into this thinking My Neighbor Totoro. I quickly realized this had more in common with something I might see on HBO Family on a weekday morning.

It's more aesthetically appealing and nuanced than your typical toddler animation, but the theme is still extremely childish. That's okay. Childish movies are fun to watch. I just happen to disagree about their importance. They don't deserve to be in the same conversation as sophisticated, adult-themed films.

Unless you're talking about educational films. Then, in my humble opinion, the discussion begins and ends with Donald in Mathmagic Land.

hm said...

I really like this animation :)
I just remembered that I usually brought some stuffs everytime when I was young!! Does it exist a children's book?? I read a book that the contents were same as this animation.'s really good to watch it through animation!!

Jihyun said...

hm/ yeah, after June the pillow recieved award and been to many film festivals, the director Kim HyunJoo published this film to a children's book.. The book has some scenes that the film does not have.

big brother said...

The short film was really impressive and made me think about my childhood's memory.It was long time ago but I still can remember a few things very vividly. It's odd.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the director named Julie or June. Even more, he named the teacher's name as Miss Baker. In personal taste, Korean name would have been better.

minjoo said...

These days I found myself losing subjectivity of childhood and it scares me. Am i pretending to act like adult or does socialization makes me like this? I don't know but one thing I can sure is that I want to bring back my childhood idea.

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting to see when Julie was dreaming of her pillow, there was the water getting all over Julie. Even though it is stereotypical thought, I first thought that it would have been scary, instead of releaving. However, Julie seemed to be releaved with her pillow even under the water. Is that because she is a child? :)

Julie said...

Children are likely to be influnced in so many ways by adults. Adults may not know they made children either fearful or happy.
Adults should take consider of their children.
Children are the past of you.
(I think the name Julie came from writer's name, and June came from sound designer's.)

Anonymous said...

It is very interestng interpretation that the attachment for a pillow symbolizes subjectivitiy of childhood.
I'm impressed in that the difference between an adult and a child can be expressed by objectivity and subjectivity.

Anonymous said...

As reading this post, I think about my childhood. I also had a attachment, the doll and I always went to school with my doll. However, I didn't remember when I put the doll in my room, anymore I didn't bring the doll. I think growing up is a lost the purity in our mind.

Narae said...

I LOVE Kim HyunJoo's work. Do you know that there are some other scenes added in the book version of June the Pillow? You should see the book. And as someone said above, I kinda don't like the English version names. Joori and Pillow baby is just fine. I guess the change was for the convenience of translation. It's so good to see the work of one of my favorite authors in this blog:)

Anonymous said...

This film's color and music is beautiful! and I like the scene that Ms. Baker has a smile on her cheek. There she and Julie finally have some connection between them.

psr said...

The purity of Julie makes me smile. :)
Since she is a child, she doesn't have any prejudice yet. So, she's able to consider the pillow as her friend. Why do we think only living thing can be friend? This film reminds us what real relationship is.

Rukia said...

I was very surprised when i read this short story about "june the pillow" because i had same experience like Julie. when i was young, i took my pillow anytime and anywhere in my house. At that time , i told to my parents "mom, dad, i will take my pillows first when fire happens". At present,I,22years old don't know why i really like the pillow at that time. But i think that it was very comfortable thing and make me ease always. When hugging with the pillow, i felt that i seemed like hugging with my mom.

anyway, june the pillow is very good film to me because it makes it possible for me to recall my childhood i temporarily forgot.