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National Gallery Singapore presents
Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art
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

South Korea



Approximately 119 minutes

Promoter Name

Rating / Age Limit

  • Rating: NC16 (Some Mature Content)
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Songs from the North
SONGS FROM THE NORTHBy Soon-Mi Yoo …the revolutionary state of North Korea was born out of songs — the songs the country’s founding leader sang in his arduous march to National Liberation — and these songs are the soul and pulse beats of the Kim Il Sung generation. – Rodong Sinmun, 6 April 2007 (official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea) Songs From the North is an essay film that turns its gaze upon the people of North Korea, a country typically seen through the lens of derisive satire and jingoistic propaganda. South Korean director Soon-Mi Yoo interweaves footage of her visits to North Korea with its music, mass spectacles, popular cinema, paintings and historical archives, seeking to understand the national psyche and coping mechanisms from their perspective. Her penetrating explorations offer a rare glimpse into the political ideology of absolute love for Leader and Party which continues to drive the nation towards its uncertain future.Once guided by revolutionary zeal to create a truly equal society, North Korea's master narratives now stem from the memory of suffering inflicted by imperialist powers, and the necessary struggle for independence. The film observes how these narratives permeate every area of life: they are the inspiration for the country’s art, the content of state television and radio broadcasts, the political logic for nuclear war, and the script for day-to-day living. Challenging caricature, this multidimensional portrait of North Korea testifies to the enduring power of a heroic ideal and the genuine emotion with which its people sing. It is perhaps these conditions that make survival possible.Songs from the North premiered at the 67th Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland, 2014), where it won the prestigious Golden Leopard for Best First Feature. It also won the Best First Feature-Length Film Award at the 12th Doclisboa (Portugal, 2014), and the Special Jury Prize at the 17th BAFICI (Argentina, 2015).DirectorSoon-Mi Yoo (b. 1962) is known for her avant-garde and essayistic non-fiction films. After studying German Literature at Yonsei University, she earned a MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Arts where she is currently Chair of the Film/Video department. Her works have been shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvard Film Archive. Songs From the North is her first feature film.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art Burma Storybook
BURMA STORYBOOKBy Petr LomBurma Storybook is the tale of a nation emerging from years of military dictatorship told through its poetry. This beloved art form is part of the Burmese vernacular, and the film itself is structured like an epic poem: readings by leading poets in Myanmar and songs used in day-to-day communication interweave with the story of the heroic figure at its centre—70-year-old Maung Aung Pwint. The country’s most well-known activist poet spent many years in jail for his writings, and now waits for his son to visit after 20 years of political exile.Visually stunning moments throughout the film render the familiar spectacular - elaborate hot air balloons launched into the night sky, a lone farmer patiently ploughing his field by hand, hundreds of ducks released into the river for a paddle, sorrow on a son’s face too deep to be verbalised. In this way, the film’s cinematography exhibits the same sensitivity that local poetry displays in its re-looking of reality. In one of the film’s most evocative sequences, Burmese poet Maung Yu Py reads his composition Under the Ice Sheet, offering a penetrating insight into the effects of isolation:Under the great ice sheet, a great country was buried alive.Under the great country, lies a temple no longer housing gods.Under the temple, great wars welded together six feet under.Under the wars, a great museum of culture, falling apart.- Extract from Under the Ice SheetAbove all, this film is a picture of resilience in the face of struggle, and grace under pressure.Burma Storybook had its world premiere at the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands, 2017), its international premiere at the 14th CPH:DOX (Denmark, 2017), and its Asian premiere at the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival (2017). It has also been shown at festivals all over the world, including the 48th Visions du Réel (Switzerland, 2017), the 39th Cinema du Réel (France, 2017) the 5th Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival (Myanmar, 2017) and the 13th FreedomFilmFest (Malaysia, 2017).Post-screening Q&A with Petr Lom (Director), Corinne van Egeraat (Producer) and Maung Yu Py (Poet)DirectorPetr Lom (b. 1968) received his PhD in Political Philosophy from Harvard University, and taught human rights and philosophy as an associate professor at George Soros’ Central European University. Since 2003, he has focused on making documentary films about human rights. These have been screened at more than 250 film festivals across the world and won numerous awards including the Grand Prix at the 43rd Chicago International Documentary Festival (USA, 2007) for On a Tightrope (2007).
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National Gallery Singapore - The White World of Siwa and Malini by Papermoon Puppet Theatre
The White World of Siwa and Malini by Papermoon Puppet Theatre Fri 6 Oct | 2pm, 4pmSat–Sun 7–8 Oct |11am, 2pm, 4pm45mins| Supreme Court Wing, Level 4, Theatrette$20* | Ages 4 and above*$20 per adult-child pair or $30 per adult-child trio (includes SISTIC fees)This new production about appreciating the differences amongst people invites audiences to experience how creatures in a completely white world live their lives. Children are born without prejudice yet are taught to see differences, and that one colour is better than others. This performance tells the story of a little girl named Malini, and an old man named Siwa. They live in a world where everything is white, flat and cold. However, one day, Malini discovers that her chick has been born a different colour. Once the adults find out that other colours have appeared, they will take action.This is an experimental non-verbal performance for children and adults.This programme is held in conjunction with Gallery Children's Biennale.About Papermoon Puppet Theatre  Papermoon Puppet Theatre is the brainchild of illustrator, writer and former theatre performer Maria Tri Sulistyani, and visual artist Iwan Effendi. Since 2006, the couple have experimented with the art of puppetry. Based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a country with world-renowned puppetry traditions, Papermoon creates mixed-media productions: theatre plays through visual art installations, which imaginatively explore identity and society.Papermoon has toured the world, performing at venues including The Museum of Art Kochi, Japan (2017), Singapore Art Museum (2016), Asia Society Museum, New York City and Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, USA (2012); and for events such as Hochschule fur Schauspielkunst in Berlin, Germany in 2014; Darwin Festival 2013, in Australia; AIR Koganecho in Yokohama, Japan in 2012; ASEAN Puppetry Festival 2012 in Singapore; and Ishara Puppet Festival 2011 in New Delhi, India.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art The New Rijksmuseum
THE NEW RIJKSMUSEUMBy Oeke Hoogendijk The Rijksmuseum, home to the finest collection of works by Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer, closed for a major renovation in 2003. But what was supposed to take five years spiralled into a decade, incurring mounting costs and controversy for the state-funded public institution. In this documentary, director Hoogendijk observes the fascinating, complex and sometimes absurd process experienced by all involved, from the museum’s curators, architects and conservators to its arts administrators, building superintendents and government bureaucrats, as they undertake the restoration of one of the most beloved arts institutions in the world.We are introduced to the challenges of the monumental project almost immediately: crippling protests from the powerful Cyclists’ Union over the winning design entry for the entrance, tender bids exceeding budget, Parliament’s refusal to increase funding, losing a pivotal work at an auction, intense disagreements with exhibition designers, and the sudden resignation of a museum director.But greater still is the sincere love revealed for the museum and its purpose, rendering the struggle sublime. For Menno Fitski, Principal Curator of the Asian Pavilion, this comes close to obsession. Several scenes offer glimpses into his emotional state as he journeys with two sculptures of Japanese temple guards—pure pleasure when he first sets eyes on them as they are uncrated; immense grief during the years of delay; and finally irrepressible joy during the elaborate Buddhist rituals to welcome them into the exhibition space. The collective sentiment of contributing to something larger than oneself is perhaps echoed in the words of Reinier Baarsen, Principal Curator of the 18th Century. He describes the era’s ethos that one’s whole being should add to the meaning and beauty of the surroundings, so that "together we'll make life a work of art."The New Rijksmuseum had its world premiere at the 27th IDFA (Netherlands, 2014) and was shown at the 11th European Feature Documentary Film Festival (Serbia, 2015).DirectorOeke Hoogendijk (b. 1961) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her 1998 feature The Saved, co-directed with Paul Cohen, won the Dutch Academy Award (1998) and the Euro-Comenius Award in (1999). Her other notable films include The Holocaust Experience (2002) and How I Invented the Volkswagen (2012). She worked on The New Rijksmuseum from 2005 to 2013.
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National Gallery Singapore - Curator's Tour - Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from Xiu Hai Lou collection
21 AprLed by Jennifer Lam (Assistant Curator, National Gallery Singapore), this tour offers deeper insights into the artworks and narratives of the exhibition Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from Xiu Hai Lou Collection. This tour is offered in English12 MayLed by Dr Cai Heng (Curator, National Gallery Singapore), this tour offers deeper insights into the artworks and narratives of the exhibition Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from Xiu Hai Lou Collection.This tour is offered in Mandarin.Detail of Ren Xun. The Scent of Flowers and Singing of Birds. 1868. Xiu Hai Lou Collection.
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National Gallery Singapore presents Painting with Light: International Festival of Films on Art EXPRMNTL
EXPRMNTLBy Brecht DebackereThis witty and irreverent documentary tells the story of experimental cinema through the history of EXPRMNTL, one of the most important film festivals ever organised for the international avant-garde. It only knew five editions between 1949 and 1974, but congregated artists who challenged mainstream aesthetics and dominant discourse, and created space for alternative ways of seeing. Participating filmmakers included now-icons of experimental cinema whose works have become, perhaps ironically, great classics: Agnès Varda, Luis Buñuel, Jonas Mekas, Roman Polanski, Nam June Paik. Many appear in this film to discuss the significance of this milestone event, as well as the phenomenon of the avant-garde and its explosive countercultural energy.EXPRMNTL started out as a fringe programme at a casino in Knokke, Belgium, offering a survey of experimental works at that time through a showcase of surrealist, Dadaist and abstract films. Thanks to its visionary founder Jacques Ledoux, also director of the Royal Belgian Film Archive, the festival soon became renowned for advancing avant-garde cinema. Besides providing a platform for new filmmakers, it also supported them with film stock from Agfa-Gevaert and gave out money prizes for the best films. It was perhaps unsurprising that the limits of the festival were tested by controversial submissions like Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, happenings, and protests against the USA’s imperialist ambitions. While the festival may no longer exist, its spirit of innovation lives on in the astonishing filmic expressions it has inspired and their influence on today’s visual culture.EXPRMNTL had its world premiere at the L’Age d’Or Film Festival (Belgium, 2016), where it was the opening film, and its international premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival (UK, 2016). It has been shown in major festivals all over the world, such as the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands, 2017) and the 18th Jeonju International Film Festival (South Korea, 2017).DirectorBrecht Debackere (b. 1979) is the co-founder of Visualantics, a production company based in Brussels. He works with film, animation and motion-graphics, and has exhibited works in museums such as the Stedelijk Museum (Netherlands), SMAK (Belgium) and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. He is currently researching omni-directional and stereoscopic film for CREW, a Belgian artist collective.
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National Gallery Singapore - Curator's Tour - Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee
8 SepLed by Dr Cai Heng (Curator, National Gallery Singapore), this tour offers deeper insights into the artworks and narratives of the exhibition Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee.This tour is offered in English13 OctLed by Dr Cai Heng (Curator, National Gallery Singapore), this tour offers deeper insights into the artworks and narratives of the exhibition Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee.This tour is offered in Mandarin.Detail of Chen Chong Swee. Ice Kachang Vendor. 1950s–1960s. Gift of the artist's family.
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National Gallery Singapore - General Admission
National Gallery Singapore is a new visual arts institution which oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The Gallery is housed in two national monuments—former Supreme Court and City Hall—that have been beautifully restored and transformed into this exciting venue in the heart of the Civic District.Reflecting Singapore’s unique heritage and geographical location, the Gallery will feature Singapore and Southeast Asian art in its long-term and special exhibitions. It will also work with leading museums worldwide to co-present Southeast Asian art in a wider context, positioning Singapore as a regional and international hub for the visual arts. DBS Gallery presents Siapa Nama Kamu?:  Art in Singapore since the 19th Century "Siapa Nama Kamu?" means "What is your name?" The inaugural exhibition of the DBS Singapore Gallery poses this question, inviting visitors to consider how art may relate to issues of self and community, and what it means to look at Singapore through its art.Drawing on close to 400 works, it explores the influences and practices that have shaped and transformed Singapore art. Each artwork provides insights into why and how an artist responded to his surroundings and circumstances. Taken as a whole, the wide range of artworks reflects the complexities involved in telling this extensive story. UOB Southeast Asia Gallery presents Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century If one thing characterises Southeast Asia, it is change. A meeting point for major civilisations, religions and colonial powers, it has experienced a tumultuous social and political history, marked by a complex relationship between local traditions and influences from the West.Between Declarations and Dreams looks at Southeast Asian art’s continuous encounter with the new, and how artists negotiated meaning and expression as they grappled with change. A powerful exhibition, it displays close to 400 artworks, as well as rare books and artefacts.
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Event Date
Sat, 14 Oct 2017


Ticket Pricing

Standard : S$10.00