This Korean drama is set in a period of Korean schism, approximately 1948, when political forces both within and without are rending the country in two. Just as the Communists begin to seize vital centers to begin their expansion, the United States covertly supports militias standing at the opposite of the political spectrum; the result is a tug of war that leaves thousands of innocents dead. The conflict is dramatized in the relationship between two brothers, one who tries to liberate land for the peasants, the other a functionary of the military. While destitute farmers are lulled into pipe-dreams by leftists, this affiliation becomes their very ruin, and the conflict soon slips well out of control of either side. Although strongly political, this film remains remarkably low-key -- at times almost anti-dramatic. Taebek Mountains seems to be aiming for a certain clear-headed honesty amidst the slogans and propaganda. It also reaffirms the South Korean film industry's willingness to deal with old wounds in a manner that's cinematic and instructive. It's well worth your attention.
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