Have you caught the debut of Block B sub-unit BASTARZ yet? We take a look at the first release from trio P.O, B-Bomb and U-Kwon, Zero For Conduct, as this week’s MV Monday recommend.

Inspired by 1933 French featurette of the same name [Zéro du Conduite in French] Bastarz’ mv captures the spirit of the film in an interesting modern take.

Zéro du Conduite draws on the director Jean Vigo’s time at a repressive boarding school, the surreal rebellion that ensues shows Vigo’s anarchist view of childhood.
The title Zero for Conduct referred to a mark the boys would get, preventing them going out on a Sunday.

The concept of rebellion during repression is well captured in the Bastarz mv despite the setting being starkly different from that in the old movie.

If we take the lyrics of Bastarz’ Zero for Conduct there is clear industry commentary, the trio making reference to manufactured idol groups and the repressive acts of  management within the Korean music industry.

The mv visual sees the trio challenging the Kpop norm, truths are stripped of the lies they are cover in, pulled to pieces, hung out for everyone to see.

There has been a little argument about the mv’s females wearing very little, though the male artists themselves bare no skin.
This kind of objectification is certainly commonplace in the music industries worldwide, though in the Zero for Conduct mv it plays an important role.
These women are meant to be objectified to present the industry norm, the idols whom Bastarz argue are pretty but talentless. These idol representations partake in butchery, cover in blood to show their compliance to the industry factory, their involvement in the controversy.

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Bastarz say they are different, thus they stand out visually. Though the industry has changed them, they have hardened, hence their mission to mark others Zero for Conduct. We see this in the vampire-like visuals, they have darkened, they will be complicit in the industry, though they will have control.

The trio and their company have however bowed to reaction after their teaser for the track was criticised, the visuals never making it to the final mv cut.
The teaser featured the women in Japanese kimono dress, P.O even stripping one of her attire. This caused outrage from Korean netizens, asking the group how they’d feel if a Japanese group stripped a woman of Korean hanbok.

This visual wasn’t about besmirching traditional Japanese culture, this was about removing the colourful lies of a dirtier industry. Maybe a misguided dress choice considering the history between the two countries, but a strong image that was unfortunately lost in the final cut.

Despite my dislike for the sub-unit name I am impressed by their offering and its message. Zero For Conduct is a must see.

Do you like the BASTARZ debut? Do you think they were right to cut the kimono visuals?

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