A staggering anti-war statement is one of the best films of the year but I can't imagine seeing this more than once.
In 1950, at the start of the Korean conflict, a village in the mountains was told to evacuate because the fighting between North and South and the Americans was going to cross into their village. Hitting the road they fled South, only to end up massacred by American forces told to fire on anyone who tried to cross the battle lines.
Heart felt and matter of fact retelling of the story of just one of the massacres that happened in Korea during the early days of the war is a kick in the face shot to the heart. Despite being played by many of Korea's biggest stars these are real people in real danger. The film simply covers the period of time just before they evacuated to the point where the survivors started to make their way back. There is no pronouncements of guilt, no examination of what happened after the fact, its just the events on the ground, and the film is better for it. Since the story is kept simple the film takes on greater resonances and becomes much more universal, this could and probably does happen elsewhere.
Its a film that will break your heart. It will move you. Several people at the screening at the New York Asian Film Festival got into a heated argument over the film and its implications both then and now. The ushers had to have the men removed.
Over coming its few minor flaws (its a little slow at the start, there are too many famous faces and the CGI blood effects are uneven) this is one of the best films I've seen this year and one of the truly great anti war films...
... but its so emotional and so heart rending that I can't imagine ever seeing it again... its just too sad, and too unhappy. I mean this is not a film you watch for entertainment.
A masterpiece. You owe it to yourself and humanity to see it at least once.
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