HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Liberation Day Tune Each According To His NeedsBuy this film here.
Year: 2016
Director: Ugis Olte, Morten Traavik
Stars: Laibach, various
Genre: Documentary, Music
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea has been around since the mid-nineteen-forties, split from South Korea by a clash of ideologies thanks to the North embracing Communism, and nobody seems to want to do anything to heal the division, it being politically expedient to keep it alive for both economic and propaganda purposes. Ah yes, propaganda, the mention of which cues the Slovenian art rock band Laibach, who emerged from Communist Yugoslavia as the premier satirisers of totalitarian regimes, which they saw everywhere both in the rulers of their land and the mass gatherings such as rock and pop concerts of the West. So when they were invited to play in North Korea, some twenty-five years after Communism's fall in their homeland, sparks would fly...

The thing about Laibach is, what makes them controversial, was how far they were in on the joke, how far they were sending up the imagery and sounds they grew up with and how much they embraced them for their rousing power. They remain controversial to this day with opinion polarised; there are those who say they are quite brilliant with their juxtaposition of fascist and Communist eyes to the skies propaganda with the masses at concerts, preferably stadium concerts, all equal in their view of humanity taking to rallies to express themselves, or more accurately told to express themselves by a higher authority. Then again, the old Kurt Vonnegut maxim about being careful who you pretend to be enters into the subject.

Vonnegut pointed out we are who we pretend to be, therefore were Laibach so keen to embrace some admittedly influential stylings because they could parody them, or because they believed hey, this stuff is good!? There was no question in North Korea those trappings of propaganda were delivered with the utmost sincerity, resulting in a peculiar tension throughout this absorbing documentary. The director, Morten Traavik, acted as the band's guide and organiser, having worked with the republic before, and there are times he obviously admires the state, and others when he finds it incredibly frustrating apparently for the simple reason that the citizens and powers that be are not in on their joke.

Which prompts us to ask if it's even a joke at all, and it was a conundrum the film never got to the bottom of, for Laibach looked curiously out of their depth when encountering an actual totalitarian government, curious because you would have expected them to be old hands at dealing with them given the band's grounding. On reaching the country, we were offered glimpses of what life was like there, nothing damning but nothing exactly making you want to move there and live in their self-styled utopia either. Traavik was canny enough to include news footage of how the North Koreans were not the blessed and benevolent state they would portray themselves to their citizens as, and the build up to the concert, the first time a Western rock band ever played there and supposedly a positive event, was contrasted with the cycle of yet more warmongering with the South.

That would be negative, and did tend to diminish the struggles of Laibach as they saw their show meddled with during rehearsals, the setlist gradually whittled down to a handful of songs the audience would not find offensive. Intriguingly, a version of the nation's most beloved folk song was toned down from their original conception because the censors insist to hear it in that delivery would terrify the crowd and cause them to riot, which increased the interest in seeing precisely how they would react to what they did witness. In every scene we are wondering, what is either side getting out of this, and aside from publicity it's difficult to discern any benefit as the grand finale, when the concert takes place, goes down mildly. Nobody gets up and walks out, yet nobody dances in the aisles either, an anti-climax when it's hard to gauge the reaction from the Koreans aside from polite curiosity. Nevertheless, Liberation Day offered a wary insight into what happens when satire meets its target and is pointedly asked, you see anything funny here?

Click here to watch this documentary on iTunes.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 416 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: