In the first of our series of screenings commemorating seventy years since the outbreak of the Korean War we present influential director Lee Man-hee's tragic story of loss centred on a small group of South Korean marines.
Landing craft carry a group of Korean marines into hostile territory. They spring into action, taking on North Korean soldiers defending a battered factory zone. The marines rescue a little girl whose pregnant mother has been gunned down by the ‘commies’ before their eyes; but soon they come across the scene of a worse atrocity, the tortured bodies of innocent civilians murdered by the enemy soldiers. One marine finds the corpse of his own sister.
In these opening sequences, a careful attention to visual style, careful cutting, camera movement are all marks of Lee Man-hee’s film-making. These features of film form may make the clear anti-communist content, typical of the genre of South Korean war films, less strident. We get to know the characters and foibles of the men better as they head north, heroically invading the country which had wickedly invaded them.