Movie Review: “A Dream of Iron”

By Ismary Munet

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park’s film “A Dream of Iron,” presents ideas of new beginnings and hopes while also illustrating the impact of the modernization and industrialization of South Korea, which continues till this day.

The film introduces a brief history of the oldest petroglyphs in Korea located in the city of Ulsan. Before being submerged in water due to industrial work, these petroglyphs portrayed early civilization’s depiction of majestic whales, the early gods, as they danced. Throughout the film, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park carries this history of the whales while their breathtaking images intervene between the images of past and present Korea.

Park is able to bring awareness of a lost sense of humanity, and a disconnect from nature and spirituality, which results from the appearance of Hyundai: “And around this time, a new god appeared.”

The industrialization that was supposed to bring about new beginnings, a chance of hope, and save South Korea from being impoverished, paved the way for this disconnection.

Though at times scenery of POSCO steel mills and Hyundai Heavy Industries’ steel and equipment being produced and moved may feel dragged, the melding of whale songs and Buddhist chanting along with industrial noises makes for an impact the viewer cannot help, but get lost into.

Park succeeds in allowing us to get an in-depth look at how such drastic changes can impact not only the economy of a society, but its humanity and culture as a whole.

The film’s North American premiere will be at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight 2014 screenings on Saturday, February 15 at 5 pm, and Sunday, February 16 at 2 pm. For more information readers can visit: and

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