Korean five drums performance wows during Fantasia.
Of all the ways to kick off a film screening, I’ve never thought that a display of Korean drum dancing would be one way that I’d witness.
Performed by the Montreal Korean Folk Dance Association, I was captivated throughout as the three performers drummed in unison, but not just in your standard way. Five drums positioned in each performer’s area were pounded from any angle – upside-down, jumping, kneeling, you name it – and it was awe-inspiring to behold. Perhaps you wouldn’t be saying the same with a hangover though…
It was all in aid of the Canadian premiere of Lee Joon-ik’s latest, Battlefield Heroes (the sequel to Once Upon A Time In The Battlefield), and the director was on hand to introduce it, immediately ingratiating himself with the crowd thanks to his self-deprecating humour.
“I’m worried because this movie is a historical epic of the Korean history of 1,300 years ago so I’m worried that if you do not know the history of Korea, you might not find it interesting and just leave during the movie.”
He needn’t have worried; no one was leaving once his genius meld of a war epic with slapstick comedy, including some scatological humour for good measure, kicked off. If I wasn’t won over already, the nod to Monty Python and the Holy Grail as one army resorts to catapulting animals, including cows, at the enemy would have sealed the deal anyway.
Maintaining that mix of comedy and historical fact was stated as the most difficult thing for the director when asked in the post-film Q&A, but also creating the Korean world of 1,300 years ago.
“In Korea, we had so many wars so our historical locations and objects all disappeared so it was very hard to shoot. We had to create a location with our imagination.”
He still managed it on a budget of just $5.5m with three months of shooting and received the warmest reaction for his response to just how he managed to create an epic with a relatively limited budget, mainly in comparison to American blockbusters.
“In America, they make the movie with the money and we make it with our heart and body.”
Take that, Hollywood.