Korean with English subtitles
BAMSEOM PIRATES, SEOUL INFERNO
By Yoonsuk Jung
“All hail Kim Jong-il!” Bamseom Pirates yells these controversial lyrics on its album Seoul Inferno, a name inspired by the notorious line “North Korea can put Seoul in a sea of fire” in a 1994 speech by North Korean representative Park Young-soo. This South Korean band takes its musical code from grindcore, one of the most radical genres of contemporary music, comprising elements from rock, punk and metal, and its performative approach from avant-garde happenings. The band’s self-deprecating humour, coupled with the sparkling wit and originality of its satirical take on South Korean society, has provoked polarising responses.
In a country where any mention of North Korea conjures horror, the band plays on this taboo to shock listeners into reflecting on social ills at home. Its music has also brought attention to issues like the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island and the Korea-USA Free Trade Agreement. But in 2012, when their good friend and producer, Park Jung-geun, was arrested for violating the National Security Laws after re-tweeting messages from the North Korean account “Uriminzok,” they faced the first and biggest crisis of their musical career.
By tracing the journey of Bamseom Pirates, director Yoonsuk Jung documents the eruption of a new youth culture and envisions the possibility of a new politics on the Korean Peninsula.
Bamseom Pirates, Seoul Inferno had its world premiere at the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands, 2017). Since then, it has been shown at the 16th New York Asian Film Festival (USA, 2017) and the 19th Taipei Film Festival (Taiwan, 2017).
Yoonsuk Jung (b. 1981) explores the relationship between state and society through art and documentary. His works have been shown all over the world, including at the 29th Vancouver Film Festival (Canada, 2010) and the 8th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2010). Jung’s first feature film, Non-Fiction Diary (2013), won the BIFF Mecenat Award at the 18th Busan International Film Festival (2013) and the NETPAC prize at the 64th Berlinale (Germany, 2014).
Korean with English subtitles
Approximately 119 minutes
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- Rating: NC16 (Some Mature Content)
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