Berlinale Forum 2011 – Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron


Cheonggyecheon Medley: A Dream of Iron

Director: Kelvin Kyung Kun Park

Republic of Korea (South Korea)


Kelvin Kyung Kun Park’s first feature documentary. The last day of a small machine shop, which is moving from a warren in the town to a sleek office building.

“A recurring nightmare and a letter to his dead grandfather, who ran a scrap metal business, are the hooks in his complex, well-conceived and multilayered documentary film. Ultimately, however, he lingers over the people who work the metal: the foundrymen, cutters, welders and so on, his patient observation showing us how the iron shapes the workmen no less than the workmen shape the iron.”

“In the years following the Japanese occupation and during the Korean War, part of the area around the Cheonggye stream was taken over by merchants who made use of the military war scrap, thus helping to lay the foundations for the country’s economic recovery.”

A meditation on iron, ironmaking, war, machinery, industry, art, culture. The men of Cheonggyecheon. Working, eating, drinking. Complaining about money.

The legend of the iron-eating creature. Pulgasari.

The organic beauty of machinery. “Iron has become our unconscious.”

With a stand-out sound design by composer Paulo Vivacqua.

Read the Forum essay.