Showing posts with label shaman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shaman. Show all posts

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DMZ Docs 2013 Review: Unique Shaman Doc Manshin is a Sensory Thrill

I’ve been a keen fan of Korean films for over a decade and have now spent about a year and a half living within the country’s borders, yet, though I’ve been exposed to it many times, shamanism stubbornly remains a difficult part of the nation’s heritage to get to grips with. Mystical and echoing an ancient way of life, it is not merely something that fallen in stature due to the ravages of time, it is a facet of Korean culture that requires a different way of thinking.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Man on the Edge (박수건달, Baksoogeondal) 2012

The gangster comedy, once one the biggest money-spinners in the Korean film industry, has fallen out of favor recently. Truth is, most high concept comedies struggle in the Korean marketplace these days. Yet for many years they were the king of the charts. In 2001, the gangster comedies Kick the Moon, My Wife Is a Gangster, Hi Dharma and My Boss My Hero, as well as Jang Jin’s hitman comedy Guns & Talk, all featured among the year’s top seven films. A year later, the first entry in the Marrying the Mafia franchise (which would spawn five installments) rode its way to the top of the chart.

What is it about the mix between gangsters and comedy (frequently romantic comedy) that has so enticed Korean viewers? Narratives featuring organized crime have always been popular the world-over and things are certainly no different here. However, in a male-driven country dominated by social hierarchy, it could be that the infantilization of these hoodlums was a welcome source of respite within the safe confines of the country’s multiplexes. In any case this clever piece of genre hybridity burned bright for a number of years before suffering increasingly diminishing returns. A few months ago, the final installment in the Marrying the Mafia franchise failed to attract over a million viewers, demonstrating that the format was running on empty.