Some South Korean airmen may want to consider life on Broadway after they’ve completed their military service. The South Korean Air Force’s parody of the musical Les Miserables has become a viral hit.
The opera-style video “Les Militarables” — made by 80 South Korean airmen with a budget of $900 — has garnered almost 3 million views since it was posted to YouTube on Feb. 5; a Twitter nod from Russell Crowe, who stars in the Oscar-nominated version of the musical; and is raising hopes that it could be on the same path as Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” the Huffington Post reported.
The 14-minute video opens with a group of young airmen shoveling snow off a runway and singing “Dig down, dig down, raise your shovels high” to the tune of “Work Song,” which opens the film — an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, which itself is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 19th-century epic, the Wall Street Journal reported. The airmen also used versions of “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Red and Black” in their parody.
“Les Militarables” tells the story of the conscript Jean Valjean, or “Airman 24601,” who only gets to see his visiting girlfriend, Cosette, for 10 minutes because of his military service to shovel snow. The airman’s girlfriend dumps him – the ultimate fate of every military man, his comrades assure him, the Huffington Post reported.
A two-year military service is mandatory for all able-bodied men in South Korea, which technically remains at war with North Korea, the South China Morning Post. During their service the conscripts are cut off from their families and friends for months on end. The use of smartphones is also prohibited, according to the Huffington Post.
First Lieut. Chung Da-hoon, who directed the video and was a film student before being called up for service, said inspiration for the parody came when he and a fellow conscript began singing a song from Les Mis after seeing the movie, and thought of connecting the daunting task of snow removal and the musical in a video, the Huffington Post reported.
Chung said the planning, writing, singing lessons and rehearsal took a month. The actual filming was done in three days, the Wall Street Journal reported.