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Go Go 70s

(Gogo chilship)

Canadian Premiere

  • South korea 2008
  • 118 min
  • 35mm
  • Korean with English subtitles
Official Selection, Philadelphia Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival 2009

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"Choi captures the live performances in a dynamic fashion, keeping the camera active within the crowd to give it an effective, "you are there" feeling" - Kevin, LOVEHKFILM.COM


Director: Choi Ho
Screenplay: Choi Ho
Cast: Cho Seung-woo, Shin Min-a, Kwon Hyeok-pung
Producers: Shim Bo-Kyoung, Yi Jong-Ho, Park Jae-Hyun
Distributor: Showbox


It’s 1972 and two major, opposing forces are sweeping South Korea. One the one hand, the oppressive, autocratic regime of Park Chung-hee looms dark on the horizon. But on the other hand, due in no small part to the American military presence, raucous rock ’n’ roll is infiltrating the hearts and hips of Korea’s youngsters. At one smalltown bar catering to U.S. servicemen, singer Sang-kyu and his band trudge through sets of dull country music, while at another dive with a largely black clientele, guitarist Man-sik and his group, Angels, are struggling to pull off a repertoire of recent soul hits. The two bands collide in a back alley and, after the requisite posturing and challenges, unite to combine their strengths. Goodbye Angels, hello Devils—a ferocious soul sensation is born! Following a surprise win at a “battle of the bands” concert in Seoul—rock’s the flavour of the week, while soul music’s still an out-there phenomenon—and some success as a backing band on an older kitsch icon’s record, Devils plant their flag on the stage of Nirvana, the hottest rock club going. When their old pal Mimi whips together some flashy outfits and signs on as Devils’ gogo dancer, it seems like the sky’s the limit. But the Park government is cracking down, and South Korea’s rock ’n’ roll insurgence is on the verge of being extinguished…

Brothers and sisters, break out those butterfly collars, blowout combs and big damn sunglasses! Based on the true story of Korean rock band the Devils, GO GO 70S recalls THE COMMITMENTS in tracing the arc of a truly inspired soul band, but in this case, the countervailing political pressures of the time add a desperate poignancy to the already tough road any serious band must travel. The characters and their tensions, intentions and interactions are capably fleshed out, as are the dynamics of a changing Korean pop-music industry. Moreover, director Choi Ho, who proved his chops with the gritty crime flick BLOODY TIE, sees to it that the art direction and especially the wardrobe department shine brightly. But first and foremost, GO GO 70S is about the music. To invest his turn as Sang-kyu with due authenticity, actor Cho Seung-woo learned to play guitar and jammed with real bands, and when you see and hear Devils tear into their theme song, you’ll know it paid off!

—Rupert Bottenberg

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