Images of North Korean mass calisthenics performances, gangster movies, fireworks in Yeouido and the face of courtesan from the Chosun Dynasty all flash by in the music video for "Entertainment," the latest single from French alternative rock band Phoenix.
The band members themselves do not appear in the video at all. Instead, they are lip-synched by actors in a mock-Korean soap.
Phoenix debuted in 2000 and won a Grammy Award in 2010. The video was released on March 7 on YouTube prior to the official release next month.
Its focus on Korean TV and its rather rough quality seem to suggest that the music video is making fun of Korea, but in general people here find it funny.
Phoenix's label quoted the band as saying they are fans of Korean TV soaps, an influential form of entertainment that deals with current society and the issues in pop culture. They explained that the video uses not only scenes from soaps but also images of national division, progressive K-pop culture, and the North Korean mass games, which the band find impressive.
It was shot in Los Angeles' Koreatown, and eight out of the nine actors are of Korean descent. Patrick Daughters, who directed it, is a seasoned director who has worked with popular musicians such as Mika and Muse.
Daughters said the fact that he is a huge fan of Korean soaps thanks to his mother is one of the contributing factors to how the video came about.