South Korea | Documentary | 2017
FRI Dec 8, 8:45 PM, AFS Cinema
Early in BAMSEOM PIRATES SEOUL INFERNO, director Jung Yoon-Suk places an on-screen note: “The sounds of the film were left unbalanced to help you experience the imbalances in Korean society.” So begins a film that draws on its subjects’ energy and irreverence in both form and content.
Formed in 2010, two-man outfit Bamseom Pirates are as far away from K-Pop as you can imagine: they play short, fast, and loud—what connoisseurs might call grindcore, but what most would just call punk rock. Their lyrics and aesthetics are dadaist political satire, and they become favorites of fellow students opposing privatization, militarism, and South Korea’s pervasive puritanical streak. Their relentless irreverence comes under scrutiny when their producer and compatriot is prosecuted under the country’s National Security laws for tweets like “Kim Jong-il is Car Sex,” seen as praise for the enemy. – A. Modi