Monday, April 03, 2006

Yodok story

Yodok tells the story of a young 강령화, a lead entertainer in the North’s propaganda department, and her struggles for survival.
Initially 강 is praised throughout the North for her talented acting, but that is soon to fall apart when her father is accused of spying for the South.
The family is stripped of it’s honors and is sent to a labor camp... Yodok. There the family encounters cruelties that were previously beyond imagination.
From the brutality of her initial rape, and the constant abuse levied at them from the guards, comes a mixture of sorrow and hope.
This hope, is their story
Before I get started, I must say one thing - I am usually not a big fan of musicals. When I watch Disney films, I always think the songs ruin the animation. And when I watch the Sound of Music ... well, I don’t actually watch it. So it was a great surprise to me when I actually enjoyed this musical. Not being a big fan of the genre I expected to sit through it and understand little (it is done in Korean). I am glad that was not the case.
The songs, instead of taking away from the story (or distracting me from it) instead added surprising power to it. From the opening act of the propaganda films to the scenes where death was a moment away, the songs gave voice to the spirit of the actors. One song in particular moved me - sung from someone who had seen the South, he begged God not just to visit the South but to come to the North too.
The singing itself was superb and the lead actress enchanted me from the start. As well, the act changes and set design left me feeling like I was watching ... not just a movie, but something more real, more alive.
This performance may not change your beliefs about the Peninsula, but if you can sit through it without shedding a tear - you’ll be the only one in the audience to do so.

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