DVD Bangs (movie rooms) in Seoul, Korea - 61
DVD bangs (rooms) are a common sight throughout Seoul. ‘Bang’ in Korean, means a room that is for a specific purpose: In this case ‘DVD room’. The DVD room experience is a must for every visitor to Korea, as well as being an experience many Korean youngsters often enjoy. Enter the DVD room, often located a few floors up, and you will usually first come to a reception area, where the range of DVD’s is displayed. Upon choosing a title, you head to your room, which is always usually a very small room with long sofa.
Many people use DVD bangs simply because they want to watch a movie with their friends, whilst some youngsters use the rooms to have a chance to spend some time alone with their boyfriend or girlfriend. DVD rooms may perhaps catch on in Europe and in the U.S. in the future, although DVD rooms perhaps reflect the Korean culture. Young American people for example, often have their own T.V. in their room at home, thus the demand for DVD rooms is not likely to be so popular.
Koreans usually continue to live at home until they get married, in many instances living with grandparents and parents - For this reason, space can be far more limited. DVD and PC Rooms, act as places where Koreans can get some well-earned space. Most films are available with subtitles in English, including many of the latest Korean movies.
Watching a movie in Korea as a Westerner can also be a different experience from watching a movie in a cinema in your native country. The way in which Korean audiences have different reactions at different times in movies, to what a westerner would have, was something I had not anticipated or considered before. In ‘Love Actually’, a movie set in England, the Westerners I saw the film with, laughed in very different areas to the Korean viewers. Some moments when we laughed, we were the only ones in the cinema laughing. Sometimes the Korean audience laughed when we did not expect it.
The important thing quite clearly in my opinion, is that everyone is getting a lot of enjoyment for his or her seven thousand won ticket. An Irish friend is currently going out with a Korean guy and she recently mentioned how, when sitting watching movies together, they both laugh in completely different places to their partner. She reports “I’ll sit there laughing and my boyfriend can’t understand why I find it so funny. Sometimes he laughs and I don’t understand why.
The humour seems to be quite different. The differences though, are actually what make travel and culture so interesting”. One final example of the different reactions in a cinema, was when I watched Matrix 2 in Kangnam, Seoul. A moment that involved a kiss was met by very loud laughter in the cinema, a reaction that fairly reflects the cultural reaction to public affection in Korean society – whereby kissing in a sexual way in public is generally not as common as one might see in Western countries.