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. Cheol-ae-kum carries a unique signature. Park weaves together his different narrative strands into a complex documentary work of shamans and propellers, whales and industrial halls. His editing suite comes to resemble a piece of welding equipment, the soundtrack a commanding symphony of industrial noise, whale song, Gustav Mahler and shamanic songs.
by Kelvin Kyung Kun Park
Republic of Korea (South Korea) / USA 2014