Im Kwon-taek and the wounds of the Korean War

The Im Kwon Taek retrospective has given us all a chance to catch up on some of the films of the master that we haven’t seen before, rounding out our picture of Korea’s national director. Im is probably best known nowadays for his films which highlight some of the unique aspects of Korea’s cultural heritage: […]

When “going to the valleys” is not a good idea

Many languages have all sorts of euphemisms for death. “He’s gone to meet his maker”, “He’s pushing up the daisies” are a couple of the expressions in English. In Korean, there’s the picturesque phrase “He’s gone to the valleys.” The valleys in question are in the Jirisan region of South Gyeongsang province. Jirisan has always […]

Remembering the struggle against the partisans

Sancheong County, nestling at the feet of Jirisan in Gyeongsangnam-do, has two memorial museums to the struggle between the leftist partisans and the Southern military and civilian authorities at the time of the Korean War. The key headlines of the conduct of the Korean War itself are well known: the Northern sweep southwards, the UN […]