How Was Your Fish Today?

Late last night I sat down in front of the TV with the intent of staying long enough to finish my soup before I went back to work. But I got caught with this film (How Was Your Fish Today?) about a writer who gets writer’s block and starts living the life of the character he created.

I started it maybe half way in and it was very surreal and strange at the same time as it was filmed documentary style. The plot took the writer (and his character) to Mohe, a desolate Chinese village near the Russian border known for the Northern Lights.

The reason why it’s so interesting is because the writer and his character had this idea of Mohe was like based on textbooks from grade school and word of mouth. The imagery of an artic village without electricity, untouched by civilization was used as a means of inspiration/curiosity and as a sanctuary for another. It ties in very closely with a project I’m doing for class where I have to market Canada as a tourism destination to the world.

Right now, we’re looking at imagery and myths. What kind of myth can we give to Canada and what tone should that myth be told? These images and myths about places don’t usually come from marketing. Instead it sort of exudes itself through culture. A lot of the American myth was constructed through bits and pieces of the culture we export. And a lot is also constructed through people’s experiences and how they retell those stories to their friends (In America, they have hamburgers the size of your head! No kidding!).

The reason why this film is still stuck in my mind is because it seemed very aware of what I just talked about. It had tourist friendly photography of the landscapes. It showed parts of Mohe that it look very relatable but also things that made it seem strange and exotic. And it even had a part where a guy was talking about turning his house into a hostel and getting a computer with internet connection so people can book rooms from abroad.

I’m just saying.


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