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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Joint Security Area, Review

Last night I watched "Joint Security Area," a 2000 release by the acclaimed director of Old Boy. The pacing and cinematography were great. It brought me closer to my Korean friend, because it acted as a window into military duty: the camaraderie between soldiers, the games played, the late night talks.

Later, over Japanese food, we discussed day to day life in the military service and he disclosed some disturbing incidents, which I'll talk about later.
The story, focusing on North South relations, unfolds in flashback as Korean-born Swiss-raised Sophie E. Jean investigates an incident on the DMZ zone- and also learns the truth about her father. Two North Korean soldiers left dead raise tensions, and there is a threat of full scale war.
The film is beautiful and lyrical, but it could have been thrilling, with some performance tweaking and a better interweaving of narrative threads (the Major's personal discovery was, to me, underdeveloped and distracting).
I haven't seen Old Boy yet but plan to, very soon!

13 comments:

Chrissy said...

Awesome stuff, Eva!

Wanna hear something really funny? I was in my office, correcting homework, when my Korean students popped in to ask me a question. I had your blog page up on the computer and the kids just freaked out! Turns out that they are friends with two of the students on your sidebar! My students are from Suwon too! Funny, isn't it?

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Oh my god, that's toooo bizarre.

Chrissy said...

LOL! I know! Freaky, isn't it? My students are still talking about it! They said that as soon as they return to Suwon, they are going to tell their friend that they saw him while they were in Canada! LOL!

Sam said...

Oldboy is excellent, if incredibly over the top. The other great Korean movie I saw back home before coming here was called (in English) "Save the Green Planet" but I don't know the Korean title.

The military sounds intense. I had to explain to a Korean friend how it wasn't cool to greet me saying "Heil Hitler!" but he protested that it was okay because there are "no Jews" in Korea, and they did it in the army all the time...

Yikes.

Aaron said...

Seen "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" yet? Another Park Chan-Wook classic, one I'd even take over "Old Boy." "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," on the other hand, is better left on the video store shelf.

Anonymous said...

i had stopped watching asian movies for over a year or perhaps 2 years, but very recently been on a k film binge, watching recents like "my tutor friend 2" (ok) "girl thirteen" (nice!), "unstoppable marriage" (funny!), and "driving with my wife's lover" (very nice and a fine film!).

k films are best when they are not self-referential extensions of korean pop culture. my tutor friend 2 may be considered an example of this, but it was still OK, notwithstanding my general distaste for such movies. "george pijjim!" hahaha.

i still haven't seen "joint security action" though.

Anonymous said...

save the green planet = 지구를 지켜라. Can't recommend it, though.

Edward said...

Eva,

Oldboy is very different from JSA and it may not be your cup of tea. It's shocking, violent, at times vulgar, but also very organized, suspenseful and well paced. Overall, in my opinion, it's a master piece, but not for everyone. Be warned!

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Edward- If it's a masterpiece, I'll like it. I even liked Clockwork Orange. Can't be more disturbing than that.

Anonymous- Thanks for all of the tips!

Aaron- hahahha. Like your new photo, by the way. I'll let you know what I think of "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance", or I won't.

Sam- my jewish boyfriend would love to hear that. I've heard similar things. PS- I know I owe you an e-mail, I'm sorry. i mean god, we were separated at birth.

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

Old Boy is brilliant. Please comment on it once you've had a chance to watch. I love your photos - what kind of camera do you have?

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