CONFLICT: Following one South Korean recruits' journey of mandatory service reveals how an individual is shaped into being part of a collective identity.

Avatar
Lauren Wissot
Lauren Wissot is a US film critic and journalist, filmmaker and programmer, and a contributing editor at both "Filmmaker" magazine and "Documentary" magazine. She's served as the director of programming at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, and has written for Salon, Bitch, The Rumpus and Hammer to Nail among other online publications.
Published date: October 22, 2019

From its arresting opening sequence of military exercises performed before a riveted crowd celebrating South Korean heroism during the war that tore the Korean Peninsula in two, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park’s Army places its central theme of «performance» front and center. Mandatory military service is a rite of passage in South Korea, the director/narrator explains, reflecting on his time (nearly two years required) performing his duty, And how his point-of-view changed as he returns to boot camp a decade later, camera in hand, to follow a fresh-faced recruit named Woochul.

군대, (예고편) | ARMY, (Trailer), 2019 from Kelvin Kyung Kun Park Studio on Vimeo.

UFO/DMZ

Through elegantly composed shots and a delicate score (Kabuki-like to these western ears), Park dramatizes daily basic training activities while simultaneously commenting on the distance between his own memories and the action in front of the lens. The exercises nowadays seem almost cushy, Park observes. (Are the lack of beatings of recruits due to his filming?) He recollects once seeing UFOs while returning from the DMZ all those years ago – then ponders the theory that UFOs are actually «subconscious mental projections of the masses.» («That an individual’s subconscious mind and mystical values produce a mass projection of lights in the sky,» he further explains). Adding to the mystery, he later learned that this UFO experience had happened to many soldiers, most when nearing the time of their discharge.

… text continues …


Dear reader. We need your support to make this magazine, so we kindly ask you to click here to subscribe. If you already do, please login with your email or just click here to register as READER (includes newsletter) to continue reading for free. (You have already read a couple of free articles this month.)


Forgotten or new password?


In service to performance

CONFLICT: Following one South Korean recruits' journey of mandatory service reveals how an individual is shaped into being part of a collective identity.

Editor's Rating:
0

Modern Times Review