Home Entertainment Music, look and friendship dreaming of Seoul: the Italian K-pop phenomenon in a documentary in Milan

Music, look and friendship dreaming of Seoul: the Italian K-pop phenomenon in a documentary in Milan

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They are between 14 and 30 years old. Sometimes they meet in the bars where you drink bubble tea or in the premises of the Formidabile di Lambrate club, others directly in Piazza Gae Aulenti, a stone’s throw from Bosco Verticale, where they can dance while mirroring themselves in the windows as if they were in a real rehearsal room . They frequent the shops in Rome and Prato where the merchandising of their favorite bands is sold, or they organize self-managed buying groups through social networks. Everyone dreams of flying to Seoul to see their idols perform. They are the Italian protagonists of the K-pop phenomenon, a tribe – and an industry (worldwide worth over 7 billion dollars, with an important share of exports, so much so that even the Korean government deals with it personally) – constantly growth throughout Italy. In Milan, after the stop of the lockdown that slowed its expansion, it has a few hundred followers divided into various crews. The music they listen to is an Asian hybrid of hip hop and Anglo-Saxon teenage pop, with songs that mix Korean and English, but the songs are just one of the ingredients. The others are the dance, the look (brightly colored jumpsuits or darker and more provocative mesh sweaters) and above all friendship.

The story is told in a documentary, which will be published today on the website of the Korean Cultural Institute, shot by Martino Ilacqua and Sophie Perazzolo, both students of the Experimental Center of Cinematography in Milan. “The phenomenon landed in Italy about ten years ago, but in recent times it has grown a lot – explains Martino, 23 -. In recent months we have followed both some trainees, the guys who dream of making it as artists, and the fan bases, who come together to sing and reproduce the choreographies ». Training sessions are essential. But the world of K-Pop also revolves around You Tube, where crews post videos of their most successful performances, and contests organized by record companies, associations but also by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea.

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Segii, stage name of a girl of Albanian origin, flew to Changwon, the capital of the southern Gyeongsang province, in 2016 and performed for the K-pop World Festival winning the Best Vocal Award. «The total immersion in Korean culture and being able to meet other people like me from all over the world made me understand how united we are by the same passion despite having different origins – he says -. I had the greatest emotion on stage singing and dancing in front of thousands of people screaming full of enthusiasm; the same stage on which great artists such as Bts, Monsta X and Twice also performed that day. Being so close to artists I admire was a great reward for all the preparation time it took to get there. It was an experience that I cherish and that I hope many other Italian K-pop fans will be able to live in the future ».

“There is someone who dreams of becoming a dancer or an artist, but many kids simply have an infinite love for their idols, like when I liked boy bands as a child – adds Sophie Perazzolo, 22 -. The real strength of K-Pop in Italy is that it is a reason for aggregation, the members of the crews become super friends. We noticed it during the shooting: the people who see them don’t even know what they are doing but stop to look at them and smile, because they transmit a great positive energy ». Who knows what Primo Moroni, the bookseller of the Navigli, would think of it, who first analyzed the Milanese youth aggregations from the postwar period to the 1990s (in particular in his beautiful book “The moon under the house”, written with John Nicolò Martin), trying to eviscerate their reasons existential and political.

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