Sunday, 23 February 2014

Bitter, Sweet Seoul: my Two Favourite Videos about Korea

When I saw this video, just made by some guy, it struck me as doing a better job, and making Korea seem more attractive, than almost every official tourism promotion I'd seen.

Other than a few seconds of footage taken in Japan, I think it's pretty much perfect. And wouldn't it be nice if some percentage of the Korea Promotion budget were simply set aside to find people who make beautiful videos like this, and to offer them free, all-expenses one or three-month trips to Korea, in order to make one really really great Youtube video. Or four.

What we have next, coming out just recently, is as good.

Famous filmmakers Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) and Park Chan-gyong, have done something lovely.

They took crowd-sourced footage -- anyone could submit -- and hammered together a one-hour (plus change) video that I actually recognize as the Seoul I live in: the ones that's beautiful and ugly and funny and wild and loaded, loaded, loaded with life.

It's probably too long to grab casual viewers, but for anybody who lives in Seoul, who loves Seoul, they will deeply appreciate this video, which ultimately amounts to a gentle, knowing love-letter to one of Asia's most interesting cities.

Garbage collectors, crosswalks, breakneck motorbike delivery boys, urban gardeners, and yogurt ladies in yellow, runaways and street food vendors, mountains and crowded streets. I love this video, because the decision-making mucky-mucks who come up with junk like this appear to have finally stepped aside and deferred to the ones who have, you know, actual artistic talent. Now, perhaps that's because the makers of this video are award-winners and such... but it's a start.

I wish the video the greatest of success.

Read more about it here. And at the Wall Street Journal's Korea blog, "Korea Realtime." And of course, watch it, silly!


Roboseyo said...

I watched the Bitter Sweet Seoul last week, and it is indeed incredible. You've just gotta congratulate the city fathers for having the nerve to step back and let the artist have his way.

Roboseyo said...

thanks for the twin treats! cheers!