The bizarre but true story of a controversial art metal band heading to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to perform deadpan cover versions of The Sound of Music.
When the news broke that the cult Slovenian group Laibach would be taking part in North Korea’s 70th anniversary celebrations of their liberation from Japanese rule, the western media had a field day. The band and its entourage arrive in Pyongyang, amid accusations of fascism, to a chilly reception. A tricky start, but manager and co-director, Morten Traavik, is undeterred, as he faces a late venue change, rabid censors, and an uphill battle to delivery a 21st century gig on out-dated equipment.
Featuring a sonorous version of ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and a contentious adaptation of a beloved Korean folk song, this documentary is by turns illuminating, comic and absurd.
Most documentaries or studies of North Korea conclude that it is forever sealed in its own tyranny. For all the absurdity, for all the questionable semi-satire, Laibach actually made contact with North Korea and caused a crack in the wall. In its ridiculous way, Laibach’s 80s art-rocker doom version of The Sound of Music was a kind of peace process, and, like any peace process, it involved the fudging of principles. – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Funny, thoughtful, knowingly absurd study of contrasting aberrations - Guy Lodge, Variety