Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Dream of Iron (orig. Cheol-ae-kum) [2013]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
AsianWiki listing

A Dream of Iron (orig. Cheol-ae-kum) [2013] [IMDb] [AW] (written and directed by Kelvin Kyung Kun Park [IMDb] [AW]) is a South Korean documentary reflection which played recently at the 2014 (50th Annual) Chicago International Film Festival.

The thesis of the often striking visual (documentary) reflection was that while cave drawings in South Korea dating back 30,000-40,000 years indicate that Korea's first inhabitants venerated whales (the largest beings around) as de facto "gods," they soon came to master (kill) them.  Today, we arguably venerate even more enormous beings (in the form of truly GIGANTIC ships and super-tankers, often built at South Korea's Hyundai shipbuilding works).  But by building them, we actually "Master" them as well.  So by "venerating" "our Gods" do we actually "consume" them and thus destroy their divinity?

It makes for a fascinating visual (and at times auditory) reflection.  One of the more striking comparisons made is, in fact, auditory -- as the whale songs _can sound_ like the traditional humming of Buddhist chants, which in turn _can sound_ like the noises made by GIANT hydraulic machines. 

In the end, the film arguably declares that we ourselves, at least as "Man," if not as "people" (who in comparison to both the whales and the giant ships that we build may look like ants), are the True Gods of our times.

I don't necessarily agree with the film's thesis (it's rather Idolatrous, with a Capital "I")  But the visuals are, in fact, striking and worthy of those found in the films of Ron Fricke and Mark Madigson who've previously brought us some truly Wondrous visual reflections on arguably religious themes such as Chronos [1985], Baraka [1992] and most recently Samsara [2012] (reviewed here).

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