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Korean Wave Seen From Another Perspective:
Kim Ok-Young’s The Art of Documentary and Kim Ho-Yeon’s Uncanny Convenience Store

 

2021.11.01

 

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Director Bong Joon-Ho's film "Parasite" won four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020, making a splash around the world. Meanwhile, director Lee Seung-Joon's "In The Absence" was nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject) as well, although he didn't get much spotlight. The progression of Korean video content has become a global trend, as can be seen with "Squid Game," an original Netflix drama that is expected to win the Emmy Awards. Though not well known, Korean documentary films have also won awards at several international film festivals such as the Berlin International Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Moscow International Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival.
One thing that non-fiction and fiction have in common is that they are based on human life. However, documentaries reveal the other end of fact-based reality. What you need to reason and reveal the “other side” are imagination and insight. This book suggests clues to how the characteristics of Korean films with strong social colors are displayed through which process and imagination.
Writer Kim Ok-Young, who has been producing documentaries on TV for the past 40 years since 1982, is a poet, scriptwriter, director, and producer. As such, the title of the book The Art of Documentary (Munji Books) might be “The Art of Documentary,” but it is closer to a humanities book that looks at life and imagines beyond it rather than being a technical book.
Fake news has become a serious social issue all over the world in the era of social media. In the deluge of excessive information and fake news, we need to strengthen our thinking on reality and on the other side.
Philosopher Gilles Deleuze said, "Someday our world will become like a film." Today, we are always connected to at least one type of social media, and watch movies at home so easily with OTT as if we were choosing food at a restaurant. The world has become a movie. But choosing interesting worlds does not make our lives better. The book The Art of Documentary gives readers a light walkthrough of “skills” that we use to look at our society, neglected in the reality where the world has turned into a movie. So, all the readers of The Art of Documentary can be called “documentarists.” Plus, if you can have the chance to watch all the 98 documentaries introduced at the end of the book, you will be able to have a more joyful experience.

 

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The career of the young Korean writer Kim Ho-Yeon is unique. He began writing screenplays in a film-producing company as he graduated from college. He became a screenwriter when the screenplay he collaborated on was made into the film "Double Agent." His second workplace was as a publisher. As his Experiment Zone: Human (Bucheon Cartoon Information Center), which he wrote as a cartoon story designer at the publisher, won the grand prize at the 1st Bucheon Cartoon Story Contest, he became a cartoon story writer. Then he went on to become a novelist when he won the 9th Saegae Literature Award in 2013 with his novel Mangwon-dong Brothers (Namu Bench). It is not enough to explain writer Kim Ho-Yeon with the title “novelist.” It would be better to call him a “storyteller” who tells all sorts of stories through films, cartoons, and novels. His journey as a novelist will help you understand his book.
Kim Ho-Yeon's Uncanny Convenience Store (Namu Bench) is fiction, but it's like a drama, a movie, and a cartoon. The easy-to-read writing style allows readers to have a multi-dimensional imagination of the scenes. The protagonist of this story is not a fancy hero, but someone from around us who we might have passed in the morning or on our way back home after work. In the story, a homeless man at Seoul Station who has lost his memory due to alcohol-related dementia meets a woman in her 70s as he finds her wallet. He then begins to work at a convenience store she owns at night. Is he, a man who stammers and struggles with bad behavior, going to be able to work properly at the convenience store? Breaking people’s expectations, he saves the convenience store that was almost bankrupt and makes it the brightest place at night in the village, oddly captivating customers. The delicate expression of emotions and humor specific to Korean films or dramas can be found in parts of the book. This novel is anticipated to meet the audience as a movie or drama in the near future.
The polarization in the world has worsened due to the pandemic that began two years ago, and due to the prolonged social distancing, we began to use the virtual world more comfortably than the real world. The author employs a humorous approach to console and see human beings' vague fear and loneliness in the upcoming post-COVID-19 era. You will be able to experience the freshness of “stories” that become the foundation for Korea’s video content in this small story where people find comfort in each other and escape the loneliness of our world.

 

 


Written by Son Young-Gon (Producer of SBS talk show “Good Morning”)

 

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Son Young-Gon (Producer of SBS talk show “Good Morning”)

#Kim Ok-Young#Documentary#Kim Ho-Yeon#storyteller#post-COVID-19
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