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Friday, August 5, 2016

'Sea Fog' DVD: Dystopian High Seas of Illegal Immigration

Sea Fog

New York-based distributor of international films theatrically and on DVD and Blu-ray Film Movement provides fans of the uber-fantabulous 2103 indie drama "Snowpiercer," which centers around a rebellion on a train transporting the surviving human population, with the August 2016 Film of the Month Club DVD release of the 2014 equally dystopic Korean film "Sea Fog" by Bong Joon-Ho of "Snowpiercer." The drama this time centers around desperate Korean Captain Kang agreeing to smuggle illegal immigrants from China to Korea.

The 8 international awards and 13 additional nominations for "Fog" reflect both the quality of this movie made in tight quarters with a small cast and the talent of 20-something actor Yoo-chun Park as naive sailor Dong-sik (yeah, we know.)  These accolades further prove what Movement has known for more than a decade; bringing North America the best films out there requires beating the bushes well beyond our borders.

The following YouTube clip of the awesome trailer for "Fog" both conveys the drama and artistry of the film without including any spoilers and informs us that the film is ripped from the headlines.

We first meet Kang and his woefully inept crew on a literal fishing expedition that human and mechanical error makes a figurative trainwreck. The consequences of this include bringing the owners of the boat one step closer to selling it, thus putting Kang and the boys out of a job.

The next series of events show Kang as a very generous man whose kindness and generosity regarding his crew far exceeds the regard that they (and the wife of Kang) have for him. One fisherman planning to use the bed of Kang for illicit sex is only one example of the indignities and general lack of respect that this man endures at the hands of those for whom he sacrifices to literally and figuratively keep them afloat.

In a plot twist that is as international as it is timeless, Kang reluctantly agrees to transport the aforementioned wretched souls in exchange for a large amount that will allow him to purchase his boat. This in turn leads to a dramatic and hazardous night-time transfer of the human cargo from another ship onto the vessel of Kang.

The reprobates under the command of Kang soon take taking advantage of the situation, including the presence of two woman among the new arrivals. Only Dong-sik remains noble to the extent of repeatedly going to extraordinary efforts in attempts to protect innocent Hong-mae from all threats foreign and domestic.

The titular weather, which further extends the delay regarding the boat returning to port with its contraband, is only one of many elements that creates tension among the crew and between the crew and the passengers. A high seas inspection of the boat, the aforementioned female presence, and an arguably excessive show of authority by Kang keep the pot at a high boiling point. Am ultimate wide-scale tragedy and the harsh response by Kang to that development further build the tension.

The impact of all this is that docudrama sadly seems realistic; a prime example of this is a crew member expressing frustration merely based on a belief that everyone else had gotten a turn with one of the female immigrants.

We further get a reminder that we are living in tough times in which fishing is a less viable vocation than it has been in its glorious past, most people are not only in it for himself or herself and have very limited compassion for the other guy, and trusting another person requires record amounts of faith.

The apt bonus short film that accompanies the Club selection this month is a seven-minute animated film titled "Sea Child." This highly surreal outing has a teen girl whose real-life trauma leads to a nightmare that leads to an actual surreal adventure is beautifully drawn and scored. It also is as compelling as the live-action Movement fare.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Fog" or "Child" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.