Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"South Korean Movie Unlocks Door on a Once-Secret Past"

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0DE3DF163DF936A25751C0A9629C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

I just wanted to keep the movie spirit for this week and found another South Korean film that deals with relationship with the North. The movie is called "Silmido" which is the name of island where Korean secret soldiers were trained and lived until they revolt against the government. After Kim Il-Sung's attempts to assassinate Pak Jung-Hee with 31 would-be assassins until they are stopped before they reach the Blue House, Pak also formed 31 specially trained soldiers under Unit 684 to kill the Great Leader of North Korea. Most of the recruits were criminals in death row. However, as relationship between North and South started to get better, Pak decided to get rid of Unit 684 because they know too much about the plan. The movie shows that Unit 684 revolts after they found out the Pak's plan. At the end of the movie (Do not read this part if you want to see this film), they arrive in center of Seoul by hijacking the bus, but everyone gets killed or suicide by grenade.

Even though this story is well believed by most of Koreans, historians and researchers never found documented evidence of this. However, several witnesses came forward and interviewed about the uprising. Brig. Gen. Nam Dae Yeon, the ministry spokesman, admitted that Unit 684 did existed and "Seven died in training and 20 were killed in the uprising," and four survivors were executed. In addition, Yang Dong-Su, a guard who survived from the uprising, told that most of recruits were not criminals in death row but just “petty” criminals. He also said they didn't revolt because they thought Pak is going to eliminate them but because they realized they will never make it out of the island. It is also important to note that when the government recruited them, they guaranteed to give "jobs and money if they succeeded."

This article also noted the fact that lots of spy activities took place during 60's and 70's. Even though there isn't any formal documents, but the lawmakers who "have pushed for compensation for the former spies," claimed that there are about 7,700 spies were sent to North Korea and about 2,400 made back to the South. According to former spy, Jung Gil-Ryong, said that even when they make it back to the South, they don't get the treatment as they deserve but the government mostly ignore the fact that they exist.

I surely believe spying from the South and North were very active, and probably it still is. This incidents portrayed by the film illustrate the tension between North and South and critics South Korean government's irresponsibility of their action. I really enjoyed watching this movie and hope everyone will have chance to see it as well. Even though general plot is very depressing, there are some breaks between the films. Another movie that I want to recommend that is related to this course is called Tegukgi which portrays the story of two brothers during the Korean War.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS6R2B49IR4(Silmido Trailer)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx0DAAmlSPk (Tegukgi Trailer)

1 comment:

DONG YON, KIM said...

I was going to post this movie, Silmido but I guess I am little bit late now. However, these highly trained S.Korean special soldiers(a.k.a HID) were beyond spy. They were not trained to bring information from the N.Korea but their idleal goal is kill the Kim il Sung. Unfortuntely S.Korean government did not even approved their existence but later after this movie came out, S.Korean government treat them as Veterans and gave them some welfare support.

There are some S.Korean women spies known as Rabbit. These women were also highly trained. They actually been to N.Korea and some are still live in N.Korea as spy some were return to S.Korea with valuable informations.

In 1960s to 70s were the peak point when the both North and South Korea continously spy on each other.

Today in Korea the government has been terminated the national security office since Roh because of Korean gov't has been catch innocent citizens and treated them badly. On the other hand, this showed how much Roh's gov't was not consider about National security due to N.Korea or how friendly he was.