Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno
Director: Jung Yoon-suk
Cast: Kwon Yong-man, Jang Sung-gun, Park Jung-geun
Film genre: Documentary
Cert 15, 120 mins, 2017
Distributed by M-Line Distribution
The Bamseom Pirates (named after an island in the Han River) were a post-punk base and drums duo active for a while in the early 2010s. Most of their performances, some involving non-musical instruments, were at student demos and benefits, and Seoul Inferno was their only album, still available as a free download. Jung’s essay-doc starts out as a very funny chronicle of what they got up to and the noises they made, but then turns its attention to the attempted prosecution of the band’s ‘manager’ Park Jung-geun under the National Security Law: he was accused, absurdly, of ‘promoting’ North Korea. Anyone looking for a sardonic portrait of Korean politics under two recent right-wing presidents need look no further than this. Likewise anyone interested in the student movement’s evolution from Marxist militancy to anarchic humour. Voted a top favourite in Rotterdam Film Festival’s audience poll this year!