Songs from the North

북녘에서 온 노래

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Film info

72 mins, 2014

Songs from the North highlights the difference between the presumed visuality of communism and the actual images emanating from North Korean television. Just as the songs clearly denote a by-gone era, presenting themselves as the musical equivalent of Soviet social realist paintings, the contemporary television images feel oddly anachronistic, as if not belonging to any particular moment of the 20th and 21st centuries, but to an alternative modernity instead. And yet, in spite of their military undertones, or precisely because of them, the songs also fill the film with a heavy sentimental charge. As Haden Guest has written, “To sincerely consider this country that challenges our most fundamental assumptions about the human condition is, Yoo argues, ultimately to question the meaning of freedom, love and patriotism.”