Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez for an article on BTS's Film Out
The group continues to make hits in other languages. (Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez, Wichita State University)

BTS’s Japanese Single ‘Film Out’ Reflects On the Bitterness of Nostalgia

In the second Japanese single from the renowned boy band, they tell the story of how hard it can be to let go of the past and look toward the future.

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Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez for an article on BTS's Film Out

In the second Japanese single from the renowned boy band, they tell the story of how hard it can be to let go of the past and look toward the future.

“Film Out” is the second Japanese digital single by BTS and was released on April 1. The single will reappear as the first track of their fourth Japanese compilation album, “BTS, THE BEST,” which won’t be released until June 16.

Many of BTS’s Japanese songs are known to be poetic, containing many hidden meanings and heartfelt messages. Oftentimes, they are more on the melancholy side; “Film Out” fits this characterization perfectly, since it is a sad ballad song, yet still feels dreamy.

All seven members convey the feelings of the song with their own interpretations, and their harmonization fits perfectly with the tone of the song. Every member’s voice is filled with colors and emotions that showcase the intimate and raw side of themselves. It allows listeners to feel vulnerable when listening.

The title “Film Out” directly references film cameras. When a camera hits the limit of exposures on a film roll, the film is out and needs to get processed in order to obtain the photos that were taken. With such restrictions, people try their best to take the best pictures to capture the most beautiful moments in life since a film roll contains a limited number of exposures. Unfortunately, not every moment can be captured because the exposures eventually run out. The title also implies that the limit of the film roll has been reached and all that’s left are the memories inside the film roll. However, another meaning of the song title is that a person shouldn’t limit themselves or else they’ll miss out on the important and beautiful things in life because life is made up of experiences.

Jungkook helped take part in writing the lyrics to “Film Out.” The lyrics reflect on the sentiments of longing for someone and reminiscing about the fond memories of the past. The song talks about someone who couldn’t let go of the other person because the person still lives within them, and holding onto the memories of the past despite the pain. The imagination of the other person is still so vivid that it feels as if they are there, and the only thing that can be done is to collect the memories to watch them projected across the room.

The lyrics evoke the process of filming and editing. A lot of scenes, b-rolls and clips are collected to create a video. However, in the process of editing, many scenes get cut out and the audio gets changed up. The order of the clips can be changed multiple times and depending on how the clips are arranged, the story itself can differ. This interpretation can be seen in the beginning of the chorus, “From all the memories stored in my heart, I gather up the ones of you, link them together.”

The visuals in the music video don’t fail to tell a sentimental story either. It fully captures the sorrow of the lyrics, and the use of nude and neutral tones makes the music video feel like a blank page, showcasing the empty feelings one may feel when they are in a melancholic mood. The scenes build up and suddenly the colors of the music video turn to red and yellow. It stays like that all the way up until the end of the music video. The use of red and yellow may seem a bit unusual, but at the same time, it encapsulates the rest of the mood by visually representing the pain behind the song. Overall, the music video is simple but also breathtaking and pleasing to the eyes.

Many fans may know that the music video for “Film Out” ties into many other theories that were made in the past regarding BTS’s music videos. The most well-known theory is that Jin is time traveling in an attempt to help save the other members, and when looking deeper into the music video, this theory appears to be true.

As Jin stands in the other room, he watches over the other members, but as soon as he grabs the hourglass, they begin to disappear. As Jungkook is the last one to fade away, Jin looks back to the other room and suddenly papers begin to erupt aggressively into the room from the windows, causing a mess. This is the exact scene where the music video turns to red and yellow. The mess that was created is a reflection of the consequences of trying to go back in time to change things around. This ties into the butterfly effect theory, where any attempt to change the past has a ripple effect that can cause a large difference in the future.

Long associated with time, the hourglass also pops up in many scenes within the music video, which can only lead fans to further conclude that there was an attempt to turn back time to save what was once lost. However, the sand in the hourglass represents the fact it’s possible to run out of time and, in this case, it appears that Jin is running out of time to do what he wants to do.

There’s also a scene where J-Hope and Suga are mirroring each other in a landscape that’s dry and empty. Mirrors have a reputation for being portals to a different dimension. This could only mean that there are alternate universes and Jin has tried to travel to each one of them in an attempt to save the other six members. This is evident in the music video when Jin is seen running toward the door and opening it, only to find himself standing on a floating rock with many other doors hanging in the sky, proving that there were alternate universes all along. At the end of the music video, Jin is seen walking back to where he originally was and looks back into the other room — standing on the other side is V, who is seen mirroring him.

“Film Out” has made the Billboard Hot 100 charts in three different countries: the United States, Japan and Korea. The song also stayed No. 1 on the music charts in Japan and has remained No. 1 since its release. It also topped the iTunes chart in 99 different countries and received the highest number of views within 24 hours of its release compared to any other BTS music video. However, the success of “Film Out’ doesn’t end here and the song can definitely look forward to seeing all kinds of achievements.

BTS will release their fourth Japanese compilation album, “BTS, THE BEST,” on June 17. Fans can also look forward to BTS FESTA, an event where BTS celebrates the anniversary of their founding for 10-14 days. The event usually starts at the beginning of June leading up to the anniversary date, and this year will mark its eighth year. Fans can definitely anticipate a lot of special songs and content made specifically for them.

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