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Wow… this film absolutely blew me away! I’m a drummer who is very serious about his craft, and this is a movie about one Australian drummer’s quest to find a particular Korean drummer he’d heard on rare, obscure recordings, who turns out to be a shaman, a national treasure, whom the Korean government has labeled,”Intangible Asset #82″. Yet again, this film wasn’t about just drumming, which is why this movie really appealed to my purient interests, as drumming isn’t about making music, it’s a way of life.
It takes 17 trips to Korea for the Australian drummer to finally be accepted by “The Bridge” as the Korean drum teacher refers to himself, and once he’s accepted for being serious enough for The Bridge to trust his aim is true, he devotes himself fully to the task of indoctrinating the Australian, going way beneath the surface to educate him into the ways of the life of the Korean musician, who lead lives totally different from Western musicians. There is a spirituality and a life force that predominates their day to day that is admirable in its depth and scope. I related… big time.
Along the way to meet the master shaman, The Bridge takes him to several other musicians so as to set the stage and continue his indoctrination.
We meet a man who lived by a waterfall for 8 years to learn to sing above the roar of the water. We meet another who says the Ausie body language is too uptight, and for days teaches him to fall on the ground. We meet a woman Kodo drum master and we see her and The Bridge do an improvisational piece that was stunning and ferocious. Afterward she says she was in heaven during the performance, which brought me to tears because that is how I feel when I play, I’m astral traveling and not on this Earth at all. We meet another shaman master drummer who pays so eloquently, so austere. And then finally, the meeting…
Besides music, one thing struck me about this movie in that we here in the West are sold a bill of good by our media, that Korea is the dark, misunderstood, militaristic country. What we see in this film is totally the opposite. We see a people very attuned to their existence here on Earth, to their ancient traditions, and living their lives the way they should, following their destinies, no matter how difficult the journey, no matter how abstract their purpose.
What I saw in this movie was divinity in action, and all these people wanted to do was share with this Aussie once they grasped he was dead serious about not only the playing, but the philosophy behind what they do, as well.
So, even if you’re not a drummer, or musically inclined, there is an important message in this film for you, too.
I cannot recommend this documentary enough! Awesome! and then some… -mo

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