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mercoledì 22 dicembre 2010

Korean situation getting worse, DMZ a great discovery from KOFA

I was just watching the news and the situation in Korea is gettin' worse. South just announced prolonged military manoeuvres, upsetting North regime even more.
I couldn't help to think about one of the best discovery I made this year: DMZ. Directed by Park Sang Ho
The movie was made in 1965 and thought to be lost for a long time. The running time was 65 minutes,  then expanded to feature lenght to meet requirements of theatrical exhibition. The expanded parts were shot with professional actors while the original 65 mins were kind of cinema veritè using non professional actors. The story follows the adventures of two kids in the DMZ the infamous de militarized zone, a 3 km strip of land that actually divide the north from the south. The movie is exceptionally beautiful, even with few rethoric statements of anti communist propaganda, it tries to stay objective: it's about the devastating impact on the minds of a people now split in two. I think that it was'nt propagandistic enough and failed to find a huge audience at the time of its release. The dvd that you can buy clicking on the director name above (yesasia) features the original shorter version. When the producer was abducted from North Koreans and vanished, the negative stored in his Hong Kong vaults was lost with the shutting down of the company offices. The transfer was made from the only survived 35mm print with english subs burned over. It was a print made for festival circulation. Unfortunately KOFA didn't go through a proper, even if difficult,  restoration and most of all they didn't do a new transfer of the film: the dvd has been encoded from an old analog Betacam sp (Why?) The B/W cinematography holds on well by the way and the 2.35:1 scope framing vividly captures the lanscapes of the DMZ limbo. It's incredible to know that Ho shot the movie entirely on the real location, moving his light crew between the two holding fires.What an ordeal must have been. The dvd is English friendly (like all the KOFA's releases) so it's the booklet included, from which i got all these infos.
This movie is a unique experience and a painful one, but clearly one that deserves your attention, clearly one not to be missed.

film mass is ended you may go in peace
The Vikar

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