Review: ‘Intangible Asset No. 82’

Fervently embracing the concept of music as a universal language, "Intangible Asset No. 82" casts a respectful eye on the efforts of Australian jazz drummer Simon Baker to gain an audience with the legendary Kim Seok-chul, an aged Korean shaman whose intricate, improvised drumming has inspired and challenged him.

Fervently embracing the concept of music as a universal language, “Intangible Asset No. 82” casts a respectful eye on the efforts of Australian jazz drummer Simon Barker to gain an audience with the legendary Kim Seok-chul, an aged Korean shaman whose intricate, improvised drumming has inspired and challenged him. Set for midyear theatrical release prior to homevid rollout, this intriguing debut feature by budding documaker Emma Franz — an Aussie singer who has recorded with Baker and others — may find a receptive niche aud through cross-promotion with a soundtrack CD.

Doc joins Baker during the latest of many visits to Seoul. Repeatedly informed that an outsider has little chance of meeting a revered shaman — especially one officially designated by the South Korean government as an “intangible asset” — Baker gradually gains the trust of Kim Dong-won, a respected music teacher who takes the Aussie on a guided tour through Korean musical culture. Highlights include a seriocomic encounter with Bae Il-dong, a robust pansori master whose song-stories can last for hours. Less dialogue and more music would improve the docu. Still, the climactic meeting with visibly frail Kim Seok-Chul is genuinely affecting.

Intangible Asset No. 82

Australia

Production

A Lorber HT Digital (in U.S.) release of an In the Sprocket Prods. Production, in association with Screen Australia, Screen Victoria. Produced by Emma Franz. Co-producers, Richard Lowenstein, Lynn-Maree Milburn, Andrew De Groot. Directed, written by Emma Franz.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Franz; editors, Daniel Kerr, Bill Murphy; music, Simon Barker, Carl Dewhurst, Matt McMahon, Phil Slater, Kim Dong-Won, Bae Il-Dong. Reviewed at SXSW Film Festival (24 Beats Per Second), March 14, 2009. Korean, English dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Simon Barker, Kim Seok-chul, Kim Dong-won, Bae Il-dong.
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