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Magnus bÄrtÅs
Madame & Little Boy
Experimental doc. | HDV | color | 28'0'' | Sweden | 2009
In 1978 the legendary South Korean actress Choi Eun-Hee was kidnapped in Hong Kong by North Korean agents and brought to Pyongyang. Two weeks later her ex-husband, the director Shin Sang-Ok, was abducted to North Korea as well. After spending five years in the country the couple was offered a ?contract? which included a public statement declaring their willful defection to North Korea, a major film budget, enormous resources in terms of equipment and extras, and furthermore a re-marriage. Two years later the artist-pair managed to escape, after having directing and producing a number of films in North Korea, eventually taking political asylum in the United States. Not yet finished was "Pulgasari" (1985), a Japanese-style monsterfilm based on a Korean legend and made in the vein of "Godzilla". "Madame & Little Boy" is a video essay where historical lines and the circles of repetition in the life story of Choi Eun-Hee ("Madame Choi") are examined. The genealogy of the monsters from "Godzilla", via "Pulgasari to Galgameth" (Shin?s remake of "Pulgasari in Hollywood") is interpreted as deliberate messages about atomic weapons.
Magnus Bärtås is an artist, a writer and a professor of fine arts at Konstfack, Stockholm working with text, video, objects and installation. He has recently exhibited at Platform-09, Seoul, Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery Museum on the Seam ­The Socio-political Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem His video-works have been screened at Gothenburg International Filmfestival, The Alternative Filmfestival, Belgrade, Shadow Filmfestival, Amsterdam, The Powerplant Gallery, Montreal among other venues. His dissertation You Told Me ­ Work stories and video essays, examining narrative models in contemporary art and the practice of the video essay, will be published in May 2010. Together with Fredrik Ekman he has published two books of essays and his writing is frequently published in Cabinet Magazine. Upcoming screenings and exhibitions include Moderna Museet, Stockholm, The 4:th Bucharest Biennale, Gävle Konstcentrum and Kalmar Konstmuseum.