so today i went to see 'the red chapel' at the viff. it most certainly made up for the nonsense of the movie i saw last night ('cold fish' but more on that later). i have almost nothing bad to say about this movie, so ill just go on about all the stuff i liked.

the red chapel is about 3 danish comedians, 2 of whom are danish-korean, and 1 of whom has cerebral palsy (calls himself a 'spastic'). this movie - in short - reinforces yet again how severely fucked up north korea is.

the sense of humour fits pyongyang perfectly. mads' (director/narator) musings on north korean culture is cynical and rather deadpan, giving us what is likely the only north korea travel documentary from a humorous perspective. mads' is also quick to note that the koreans must be using this as a prime propaganda opportunity, jacob and simon go to the korean peninsula for the first time since they were born (in south korea) and pick the north. the movie is funny in a rather depressing way (but not like 'the office', that show just makes me depressed as hell), these guys go all the way to the dprk with a whole routine already prepared, taking caution to leave out ideology or politics. this is almost all for naught, as the guide - mrs. pak - and the directors find a ton of ways to ruin everything they prepared.

it's rather clear that the movie tends to focus on jacob, whom has cerebral palsy. he's really just a regular guy, he just sits in his wheelchair most of the time, and talks kinda funny (he also takes full advantage of the fact that no one in north korea understands danish, not hesitating to dismiss a monument as 'shit'). he also can't put up with all the nonsense that their culture is composed of, and he's a spectacle in many ways, as many in pyongyang have never seen a handicapped person (the government probably kills them off, or sends them to death camps). he also feels creeped out by mrs. paks surreal touchy-feelyness ('he is like a son to me, i'd like him to be my son' this was after she knew him for 5 hours).

the film also shows us all the things that foreigners to pyongyang always get treated to; the kim jong-il school of arts (and brainwashing), the various monuments, the museum of gifts to the dear leader and the dmz. they also happen to be around during the anniversary of the beginning of the korean war, where we learn that the dprk's 'big lie' is that the americans invaded the north, when in actuality, the north koreans invaded the south once kim il-sung got the OK from the u.s.s.r.

in short; see this movie if you can, i believe it ought to play twice more at the viff!!

1 comment: