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[HanCinema's Film Review] "No Preparation for Old Age"

2017/10/07 | Permalink

Scumraid is a South Korean punk band that has had its music released in the American and Swedish markets. They have not, oddly enough, been released in the South Korean market, owing to the troubled relationship the South Korean public has with punk. Mostly that they act very angry and weird. Consider one scene where we see a musician at home, showing off his anime figurines to director Lee Dong-woo while his mother calls for him from the other room.

But not to worry. The musicians of Scumraid and Find the Spot are very mature. They get drunk very regularly. And also there's that one guy whose day (night?) job is at a bar where he wears whatever he wants. Which is sometimes nothing, because he gets drunk and starts singing out in the floor in front of everyone. So you can perhaps see why it is that in South Korea punk musicians are just a little bit crazy and have trouble breaking into the mainstream.

Or, to put it in more sympathetic parlance, selling out. This is what makes Scumraid and Find the Spot so appealing to international punk music scenes. Punk music is all about anger, and how angry can you be if you're rich from record sales? Punk history is given a brief overview, and I'm not sure it's accurate but recall that this information is from the perspective of Scumraid and Find the Spot, who by their own admission are pretty ignorant about a lot of stuff.

One thing they do know is that Nazis suck. It's telling that one of their major influences is not a particularly famous punk musician you might have heard of, but some German guy on YouTube who interrupted his own concert to yell profanities at and then chase after skinheads. It can get to be pretty farcical at times- especially when the big trip to the Japanese punk music festival ends up being dominated largely by a temporary bar the band members operate to raise money for legal fees.

...Related to participation in political protests. Not as musicians, just as regular protestors. Mind, we do see them participate at a worker's strike in a performance context, and it's pretty clear that the older women who had come to sit in solidarity were mostly just confused at this very loud angry music. I might be confusing the editing here with that from "I Need You", which took a more ironic look at the strange places from where labor movements have to find their allies.

But as far as comparisons go, I'd say the main difference between "No Preparation for Old Age" and a more strictly informative documentary like "Party 51" (which is referenced here) is that director Lee Dong-woo focuses mainly on the bands' happy generally pleasant daily lives, which is to be expected since Lee Dong-woo is, himself, the bassist for Scumraid. That's certainly informative, in its own somewhat biased way. Beyond that, the music is pretty good even if over time I started to question the appropriateness of that goofy piano transition music.

Review by William Schwartz

"No Preparation for Old Age" is directed by Lee Dong-woo.

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