Comedy ‘Daemuga’ mixes Korean shamanism and rap battles


A scene from “Daemuga” directed by Lee Han-jong (Pan Cinema)

After a rhythm, three participants dressed in colorful clothes begin to give a rhythmic speech about their lives while dancing. The crowd around them erupts in cheers as they spit punchlines.

What looks like an ordinary hip-hop rap battle scene in the upcoming comedy film “Daemuga” is a reinterpretation of “gut, a special performance by a modern-day Korean shaman to bring back the spirits.

“It’s (shamanism) is a surreal subject and I wanted to portray the gut – a performance for summoning ghosts – in an elegant way and also in my own style,” director Lee Han-jong said during a at a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul on Tuesday.

The director said he interviewed experts and shamans to create a balance between an actual performance and its interpretation.

“Through research, I have discovered that every shaman behaves differently. There is a framework but also parts where they feel free to play as they wish,” he added.

The film also features a unique theme song featuring three popular Korean hip-hop musicians – MC Meta, Tiger JK, and Nucksal.

“I sent a roughly edited version of the film to the three artists who can portray the three different shamans in their 20s, 30s and 40s. After seeing the film, they said they would gladly join the project. They were so passionate,” the director said.

In the film, Shin Nam (Ryu Gyeong-soo), a young shaman, is unexpectedly involved in a mysterious incident involving a client (Seo Ji-you) and disappears. Another shaman, Cheongdam Doryong (Yang Hyun-min), begins an investigation to find Shin Nam and discovers that his disappearance is linked to an old shaman, Ma Seong-jun (Park Sung-woong), and a criminal gang.

Viewers will be able to understand many issues raised by “Daemuga,” Lee said.

“Instead of depicting shamans with fantasy or sci-fi movie elements, I used realistic elements because those appeal to me more,” Lee said.

From left: Actors Ryu Gyeong-soo, Seo Ji-you, director Lee Han-jong, actors Park Sung-woong, and Yang Hyun-min pose for a photo after a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul on Tuesday .  (Pan Cinema)

From left: Actors Ryu Gyeong-soo, Seo Ji-you, director Lee Han-jong, actors Park Sung-woong, and Yang Hyun-min pose for a photo after a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul on Tuesday . (Pan Cinema)

For example, at the beginning of the film, Shin Nam decides to become a shaman because he cannot find a job, like many young people today.

“I thought it would be interesting if a young man who is having trouble finding a job chooses to go to a hagwon (private educational institutions) to learn how to be a shaman,” he said. .

Lee’s previous 43-minute short with the same title served as the basis for the feature film. Actors Yang Ryu and Seo all appeared in the short film playing the same characters.

The feature adds old shaman character Ma Seong-june and the leader of the crime gang, played by Jung Kyung-ho.

“About 15 minutes after watching the 40-minute short film, I decided to play the part,” said Park, who plays Seong-june.

The actor added that he was also surprised to read the script as it seems to be a new genre of film in itself.

“It’s (‘Daemuga’) like a set menu. There are various snacks and drinks,” he said.

The film will be released in local theaters on October 12.

By Song Seung-hyun ([email protected])

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