I’m about to go all screedy about this, but I can be brief, because Robert Koehler has pretty much said everything I’d have said anyway. I generally write “DOA” posts after an action by either government documents some new low in bilateral relations. The government isn’t responsible for the content of what Korea’s notoriously militant film industry makes, but it wasn’t responsible for the content of “Yoduk Story,” either. So on one hand, fictionalized movies about No Gun Ri or formaldehyde dumps get the protection of monopolistic screen quotas and government subsidies (and just in time for FTA talks, too!), but on the other, those who would make or finance a small-time musical about just one of North Korea’s concentration camps are threatened with prosecution under the National Security Law.
Never mind that nobody has actually figured out exactly what happened at No Gun Ri; the reporters already had their Pulitzers by the time we learned that some of their “eyewitnesses” weren’t even there. Either way, I’ll go out on a limb to suggest that this film’s scenes of bucolic village life won’t feature any North Korean infantry dressed in peasant clothing.
The only other point I would add is this: if those Chinese imperialists hadn’t intervened in Korea, why, the entire peninsula would be unified today. Yodok would be paved over with greenhouses and the streets of Chongjin would be packed with bongo loudspeaker trucks heaped with produce instead of dying kkotjaebi. Why war indeed. The more I hear the question asked, the more I wonder myself. Overall, however, I increasingly see the U.S.-Korea alliance as a perfectly good idea that’s outlived much of its usefulness, at least as presently configured.
Another interesting perspective here. I saw “Typhoon,” and I didn’t dislike it as much as this reviewer did. My favorite part was the ridiculously Canadian accent of one actor, cast in the role of one of the film’s Yankee villains.