A DREAM OF IRON FILM | INSTALLATION | STILLS | TEXT


"철의 꿈"/ "鐵夢"/ A Dream of Iron, 100 min., 2014 - Trailer


Synopsis
A love story comes to an end when a woman sets out in search of a shamanic god. Director Kelvin Kyung Kun Park takes the trauma of a spurned lover as the starting point for his own search for a god. He makes several finds across various narrative strands – among whales in the sea, in a shipyard, at a steelworks. All of them are giants of their respective times: vast, sublime, godlike.
Park's imagery also evokes the divine: embers and steel, sparks and fire; people dwarved by huge cogwheels, robbed of their individuality. A brave new world in which workers produce modern industrial goods, even as industry has long since been producing the modern worker. Work is a god we have submitted to. Yet every existence is temporary and fleeting, which applies in equal measure to both relationships and gods.


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Artist Note
In A Dream of Iron, I explore the feeling of the sublime in an industrial age. The semblance I saw of giant metal ships and images of whales in the Ulsan Bangu- dae petroglyphs inspired me to begin this project.

The Ulsan Bangudae petroglyphs contain images of whales and whale hunting. Different kinds of whales, animals, shamans, fisherman and hunters with their tools are carefully carved into 4 x 8 m wide surfaces of cliffs.

I imagine the petroglyphs having served not as visual backdrops on stage as we can imagine of theater today, but a more tactile role as a portal to enter the world of the dead to console the dead whales and animals who fed the entire tribe and beyond. Perhaps a great fire around which the tribe members gathered created huge shadows of dancers and musicians that glimmered over images of whaling carved onto the rock. Through the shadows, people saw their own bodies, arms and legs dancing with the whales, creating a kind of “interactive” animation. As people circled around the fire dancing to the beat of the drums, they fell into a trance—their minds tricked into believing that they were actually dancing with whales.

The feeling of the sublime or sacred emerges only after human beings have “conquered” or have developed skills necessary to capture whales—otherwise there would only remain fear. A proper ritual of sacrifice makes the victim an agent who connects and defines the inner and outer boundaries of communities. The sacrifice is a medium which connects the living with the dead.

Coincidentally, one of world’s largest shipyards is located in Ulsan, Korea. Hyundai Heavy Industries has played a key role of post-war economic development and industrialization of S. Korea. The company’s name, “Hyundai,” literally means “modernity,” and the company led the way of creating the myth of modernity since the 60s. However, the industrialization of Korea has lacked convincing rituals. The inevitable sacrifice—the labor movement—often gets ignored and its internal form of rituals, almost nonexistent. Therefore, in Korea, like many countries in East Asia, modernity never fully became internalized, having had no space to overcome modernity. Through A Dream of Iron, I hoped to create rituals for an industrial age, as a proclamation of its death.

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, 2013

 

64th Berlinale, Forum - "NETPAC AWARD" 
Asiatica Filmmediale, Rome, Italy - "Best Documentary"
Taipei Documentary Film Festival- "Author's POV AWARD"
Wildflower film awards, Korea- "Best Cinematography"

New York MoMA Documentary Fortnight
Toronto International Film Festival
Jeonju International Film Festival 
Seattle International Film Festival
DMZ Documentary Film Festival
Jean Rouch Film Festival, France 
Vladivostok International Film Festival
Sharjah Bienniale
MAXXI, Rome, Italy
Chicago International Film Festival
Hong Kong Asian Film Festival
Doc Lisboa, Portual