Posted on Sep 14, 2012

Urban Island: Unveiling Seoul’s Homeless Realities with up-and-coming documentary filmmaker

URBAN ISLAND” is a poignant music video by Nils Clauss and Namhui Park, portraying the song VARÚÐ by Icelandic band SIGUR RÓS. This film unveils the life of a homeless man in his forties, residing on the streets of Seoul for over eight years. As part of a small homeless community camped near the train tracks of Yongsan Station, he makes a living by collecting recyclables, refusing charity. The documentary challenges societal prejudices and provides a glimpse into the hardships faced by those on the margins of society.

Challenging Prejudices: A Glimpse into Seoul’s Margins

Documenting the struggles of a homeless person within a metropolitan city challenges general perceptions. The little park next to Yongsan Station serves as both refuge and exclusion. It is a small island in the heart of urban Seoul. It prompts viewers to contemplate whether it is an island of refuge or exile.

The Heart of “Urban Island” Project

The project “URBAN ISLAND” is an artistic endeavor based on the song VARÚÐ by Icelandic band SIGUR RÓS. It delves into the life of a homeless man challenging societal norms. The little park near Yongsan Station, frequented by this community, symbolizes both escape and exclusion, visually and in reality. The project is a collaborative effort with Namhui Park as a director duo, showcasing Nils Clauss’ role as a cinematographer, director, editor, and colorist.

Recognitions and Premiere

“Urban Island” premiered at the group exhibition at “Culture Station Seoul 284” and won the 1st Prize Audience Award at the 7th Premiers Courts International Film Festival 2012. Additionally, it was shortlisted for the 2013 Film Grant Award of “The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film.”

Further Insight into Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós, an Icelandic post-rock band, formed in 1994 in Reykjavík, known for their ethereal sound and use of bowed guitar. The band’s music, including VARÚÐ, provides the evocative backdrop for “Urban Island,” enhancing the emotional depth of the documentary.

Seoul’s Cinematic Exploration: Unveiling Urban Realities

In conclusion, “Urban Island” invites viewers to explore the cinematic depiction of Seoul’s urban realities and the challenges faced by the homeless community. This documentary not only captures the struggles but also prompts reflection on societal attitudes towards those living on the fringes.