Learn Modern Korean History Through Film
I'm an East Asian Studies major with a concentration on film, so I geek out about historical fiction like this.
Below are two films that can help shine a light on Korean history, but please be sure to read the full explanation for the last one!
Like all historical adaptations there will be bias. Always question the true story. Taegukgi
This follows two brothers during the Korean War.
As you probably know, the Korean War was fought because America split Korea in half after WW2 when Japan finally gave it up (Korea was a colony of Japan) The Korean people had no say in this, it was all outside forces making the decisions for them. This film follows a family that is torn apart by the war and gives good insight into the horror that these men had to go through.
It stars Won Bin and Jang Donggun and will definitely have you sobbing. Ode to My Father
This follows a man's life from when Korea spilt to present day.
Alright so I don't really know how I feel about this movie. Yes, it got crazy attention at the box office but it also got a ton of negative reviews because its basically a modern propaganda film.
It's all about Korean history and how Koreans are so hard working and brave and how they struggled so much and came out on top and now they're living this great life because of this immense struggle and how the government and life in Korea is great now. Yes, its great to celebrate the hard work and suffering that made Korea what it is today, but celebrating a corrupt government and justifying the lack of human rights because thats what it takes to make a country great? I don't dig it. Plus it was funded by the government of Korea to praise the Korean government so that's pretty much the definition of propaganda.
But, it does tell you a lot about the major moments in Korean history so its worth the watch simply for that! Just keep in mind that its trying to make people okay with the injustices they still face today. Do you have any Korean historical dramas or movies you enjoy?