A story of two 13-year-old boys in a small country village during the last days of the Korean War. Sungmin's father gets a job at US army camp through his daughter's American boyfriend, and... See full summary »
A story of two 13-year-old boys in a small country village during the last days of the Korean War. Sungmin's father gets a job at US army camp through his daughter's American boyfriend, and the family gets richer. But Changhee's father has been long-lost and his mother can't even afford one meal a day for her children. One day, the boys peep into a deserted mill-house which is unofficially used for prostitution, and find out Changhee's mother with a GI soldier. Changhee sets fire to the place and runs away. Months later, Sungmin hears a rumor that his best friend has been killed by a group of angry American soldiers and makes an empty grave with other boys. A year later, Sungmin's father gets fired for stealing things from the camp. Sangmin goes to Changhee's grave to bid farewell and the family leaves the village. Written by
Stevie Cho <email@example.com>
An interesting study of the effect of foreign occupation of a small country by a militarily and economically more powerful nation, in this case the de-facto occupation of South Korea by the US during the Korean war. In particular the observation of small details, and in themselves, perhaps insignificant incidents, are brought together with more significant events to show how almost every aspect of life, down to the most intimate and personal details, are affected by the unequal power relationship between the occupier and the subjugated people.
Except for the opening scene, almost all of the violence and atrocities are off screen, one observes, for example, the expressions on the faces of children turning from inquisitive curiosity to nauseous horror, but not the act that they witness itself. The war, as such, is never shown, but only referred to in title screens reporting some of the most significant events. We see a funeral, but not the killing. To me, this is a very interesting (and in a time where most films rub your nose in graphic and excessive violence, also unusual) technique, because it allows the film to make its point without having to depict what it is actually condemning.
Admittedly this technique, of only indirectly, or not at all, showing the cardinal incidents, and the overall tendency to view events from a distance (where you can't really recognize characters) made the film very difficult to follow. However once one constructs the sequence of events from the consequences that are shown, the effect is all the more compelling.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?