The HOT DOCS International Documentary Film Festival is currently in full swing in Toronto from now till May 10th. I’ve always loved watching documentaries because of the diversity of perspective and opinions on topic ranging from trivial to the provocative and controversial. This year, they shine a spotlight on documentaries made from South Korean documentary filmmakers in a programme called Made In South Korea, so check those out if you get a chance.
THE SOUNDS OF INSECTS: RECORD OF A MUMMY
Dir: Peter Liechti â€“ Germany
A man is found starved to death along with his detailed journal of his last days leading up to it in THE SOUND OF INSECTS: RECORD OF A MUMMY. Itâ€™s a really dark and chilling look into the motivation of self-starvation. While it was interesting, because of the nature-only imagery it was tedious to sit through excerpts of the daily account of the manâ€™s journal.
THE RED CHAPEL â€“ Dir: Mads Brugger â€“ Denmark
In a bold attempt to expose the North Korea in its perpetuating lies, Mads Burgger, a Danish journalist under the guise of a manager of a Danish-Korean comedy duo in THE RED CHAPEL. Whatâ€™s more interesting is one of the actors of the Danish-Korean comedy duo, Jacob Hossell is a spastic and is clearly physically handicapped â€“ whom, out of his control becomes a sort of spectacle propaganda for North Korea.
LAUGHOLOGY â€“ Dir: Albert Nerenberg â€“ Canada
In the seriousness of world crisis, director Albert Nerenberg attempts to find his laugh in LAUGHOLOGY. Itâ€™s an amusing look into a human reaction that comes very naturally, and itâ€™s interesting to note that no one really has attempted to breakdown laughterâ€™s motivation or its reason. There are laugh clubs, laugh gurus and laugh doctors around the world helping people rediscover laughter in their lives. The documentary is a hoot to watch.
THE KOREAN WEDDING CHEST â€“ Dir: Ulrike Ottinger â€“ Germany
A look into the rituals and traditions of old and new wedding ceremonies in South Korea in KOREAN WEDDING CHEST. The chest itself contains many symbolic elements the groom prepares to present to the family of the bride. The fly-on-the-wall structure works very well to capture the grandeur of both traditional and modern ceremonies while not over explaining its meaning in the gesture.
CHILDREN OF GOD â€“ Dir: Yi Seung-Jun â€“ Nepal, South Korea
The ritual of releasing the dead into heaven are business as usual for the impoverished children who live along the Bagmati River in Nepal in CHILDREN OF GOD. While family mourn the loss of their loved ones, the kids harvest the offerings of money, gold, clothing and jewels to the gods. Their seemingly amoral acts are countered by stories of whom theyâ€™re benefiting from. And somehow, Nepalese hiphop freestyle still seems to make its way to their free time.
And now a word about the Made In South Korea programme.