Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Gun Ri Movie Finally Comes Out

by Robert Koehler on March 19, 2010

in Korean Culture, Korean History

A Little Pond,” the movie about No Gun Ri that I thought was finished like four years ago, will be released on April 15.

Just what you were looking for to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

And yes, your Uncle Marmot has the trailer — Canadian accents and all — for your viewing enjoyment:

Remember, children, as director Lee Sang-woo said in 2006, it’s not anti-American, it’s just anti-war!

The press release calls it a film that “conveys the cruel realities of war, as was seen through the perspective of the minjung, through an actual incident.” Great! I just hope the Yanks are wearing top hats, smoking cigars and clutching bags of money while they mow down little kids. Anything less would be a bitter disappointment.

PS: I guess it’s kind of fitting that “Kill Them All” features so prominently on the poster. After all, it was supposedly said by Edward Daily, who it turned out wasn’t even at No Gun Ri.

UPDATE: I suppose the poster could be referring to a quote by 7th Cav vet Joe Jackman in the BBC. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

UPDATE 2: In the comments, GI Korea writes:

What is so detestable about this movie is that we have known for years that it was coming out and this director intentionally picked the 60th anniversary of the war to release it. During the 50th anniversary of the war veterans from the Korean War were slimed by the lies of the originally AP No Gun Ri story and now 10 years later they are being slimed again by the lies of this No Gun Ri movie.

Well, if it’s any consolation, veterans can at least take comfort in the fact that in large part thanks to their blood and tears, South Korea became a nation wealthy and free enough to allow a film director to take a big cinematic dump on their sacrifices.

UPDATE 3: GI Korea posts on the subject — be absolutely sure to read it. Ironically, he also notes the Korean government is subsidizing travel to Korea this year — the 60th anniversary of the Korean War — for Korean War vets. Maybe they can catch Lee’s film while they’re in town.

BTW, if I might quote myself from a 2006 post on this film:

I’m not arguing that topics such as Nogeun-ri or U.S. misdeeds should not be explored by filmmakers. As artists in a democratic society, Korean filmmakers have a duty to explore all aspects of Korea’s past and present. But as Lee clearly points out and as anyone who watched “Dongmakgol” could tell, the films do more than just examine painful incidents pertaining to U.S. history in Korea—they seek to deny any positive role the United States may have played in post-Liberation Korea by constructing fantasy worlds of happy villagers playing in the fields until they were brutally interrupted by the evil Americans and their warlike ways and exploitive capitalism. Even relatively even-handed “Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War” does little more than depict North and South as moral equivalents (with U.S. and UN contributions ignored completely)—there was no “good side” or “bad side,” and the question is never addressed whether the men chewed up on screen died for anything at all. With “Dongmakgol” drawing over 8 million viewers (5 million in its first four weeks), its historical viewpoint obviously resonates with a large segment of the general population. And it goes without saying that it does not bode well for the future of the alliance when the peoples involved no longer share a common memory of even the “foundation myth” of the alliance itself.

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