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Nambugun – the first of two Korean War films this month at the KCC


In the first of two films selected to mark the anniversary of the start of the Korean War on 25 June 1950, the KCC will be screening Jeong Ji-yeong’s Nambugun (North Korean Partisans in South Korea, 남부군) on Thursday 11 June, 7pm.

The 1990 film, with screenplay by director Jang Sun-woo, stars Ahn Sung-ki and the late Choi Jin-sil.

Nambugun - Ahn Sung-kiLee Tae (Ahn Sung-ki) is a war correspondent for the Korean Central News Agency working in North Korean-occupied Jeonju. When the town comes under threat from the U.S.-South Korea combined forces, Lee leaves Jeonju along with the Regional Party to join the guerilla unit headquarters in Mt. Yeob-un. Commissioned as a combat platoon leader, Lee leads his men, including Kim Young (Choi Min-soo), on various guerilla missions. In November 1950, the guerilla suppression forces storm their base of operations while virtually everyone is out on a mission.

Lee escapes with a military nurse named Park Min-ja (Choi Jin-sil), and the two fall in love. After they overcome various trials and rejoin their unit, however, they are forced to part by their commanding officer. Soon thereafter, Lee is assigned to the Regional Party’s guerilla headquarters, where he performs political propaganda missions. In June 1951, he is transferred to the Southern Force. He travels to the rendezvous point in Mt. Jiri, where he participates in full-fledged guerilla operations with Lee Bong-gak (Dokko Young-jae), Kim Hee-sook (Lee Hye-young), and others, under Commander Lee Hyun-sang. The Southern Force achieves a stellar mission record for a while, but the extensive guerilla suppression operation launched in late 1951 endangers the unit and they are forced to make a painful retreat. In the process, Lee Tae, Kim Young, and others end up falling behind, and Lee is finally captured by the suppression forces in March 1952.

nambugun2The film has been rated one of the best war movies from South Korea or anywhere, and is unusual in telling the story from the North’s point of view.

As well has having a prestigious lead actor and screenwriter, the producer of the film is Park Keon-seop, whose other films include The Petal, Gingko Bed, Lies and My Sassy Girl. The film was shot on location on Mt Seonum and Jiri-san, Jeollabuk-do.

The film runs for 157 minutes. As usual, preregistration with the KCC is required.


(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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