Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA (2000) Joint Security Area
Directed by Chan-wook Park
Starring Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song
A poignant film showing the futility of war and the stupidity of humans.
For years Koreans on both sides of the DMZ (De-Militarised Zone) have been raised to see the other side as enemies, the story covers an investigation into the killing of 2 border guards in North Korea. The problem is compounded because there are injured troops on each side of the DMZ as well and both their
accounts of the incident are completely different.
Swiss and Swedish investigators try and get to the truth of the matter but receive minimal help from those involved, we see the story unfold Rashomon style with variations of the truth, unfortunately the true story is more dangerous to
those directly involved than the cover stories theyve invented, will it ever be told?
JSA is an impressive film which tries to see both sides as decent humans, which Im sure the majority are, it was a huge hit in South Korea and has hopefully opened the eyes of people to realise that North Koreans are the same as them, they are their kin and its only because of the super powers that the split occurred in the first place, Korea will hopefully be re-unified one day and then as in Germany the old views and stupidity will dissipate.
Recommended viewing, well constructed and generally very good performances.
There is a classic Homer(ism) in the film where the Swedish investigator talks about the bridge at Panmunjeom in the DMZ, he comes out with a classic line something like, "People who cross this bridge never return, that's why it's called The Bridge of No Return." And I thought Homer was still in Springfield!
Korean aspect - something that pops it's head up in a number of Korean titles but without it this film wouldn't exist, the North/South split and the hopes of re-unification.
BBFC rating 15
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