The DMZ (Bimujang jidae) (1965)|
Director : Park Sang-Ho
Production Company : Jeil Films Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1965-12-09
Opening Theater : Academy Theater
Genre : Culture
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Byeon Ha-Young
Producer : Hong Seong-Chil
Executive Producer : Kim Yong-Hwan
Director of PhotoGraphy : Ahn Yun-Hyeok
Gaffer : Kim Yong-Mo
Music : Kim Yong-Hwan
Art Director : Park Seok-In
Editor : Yoo Jae-Won
Cho Mi-Ryeong, NamGung Won, Joo Bin-Ah, Lee Young-Kwan
Early summer of 1953, in the weeks leading up to the Armistice, North and South Korea were engaged in fierce battle as they alternately pushed forward and were pushed back again. After the Armistice is signed, two children who were caught in the back-and-forth shifting of the front line find themselves abandoned in the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The children a boy and a girl survive by picking up discarded military rations and roasting wild potatoes. They wander the DMZ and have various experiences, like the time a land mine they use as a rock explodes and they run away in terror. As they roam the no man's land separating North and South, they encounter a North Korean spy on his way back across the border. The boy is killed, and the girl travels south in search of her mother.
Children are sacrificed by the ravages of war
The DMZ had long been talked about as a "mythical masterpiece" because the where abouts of the actual film remained unknown for decades. Then, in 2005, the Korean Film Archive received The DMZ in Betamax format from the National Archives & Records Service, thus confirming the movie's existence and unveiling it to the world for the first time. Park Sang-ho's film exposes the atrocities of war through the eyes of two children who are stranded in the DMZ after the end of the Korean War. The DMZ, strewn with abandoned tanks, dead bodies, land mines, and unexploded shells, is an exceedingly dangerous place for children. But what most endangers them in the end are not weapons but people. The little boy loses his life at the hands of a North Korean spy. The girl survives alone and journeys southward at the movie's close, in a scene that powerfully denounces the cruelty of war (overtly, the North Korean communist regime) and its tendency to make sacrifices even of young children. The DMZ conveys an extraordinary message of anti-war by contrasting the threat war poses to children with their unsullied innocence. It differs from other dramatic movies of the time in that it does not have a closely woven plot, but it cannot be categorized as a documentary (as was the case when it was first released) since it basically presents a fictional tale.
- A semi-documentary film that was shot on location in the DMZ for the first time since the Armistice was signed twelve years prior
- Filmed with the permission of the U.S. 8th Army and the Military Armistice Commission
- Originally thought lost, the film was later discovered to be in the possession of the National Archives & Records Service and introduced to the moviemaking community through the Korean Film Archive.
- There were reportedly two versions a dramatic film version and a documentary version at the time of the movie's release. The version owned by the Korean Film Archive is the latter.
Director Bio: Park Sang-ho (1931-2006)
Born in Seoul on September 24th, 1931. He graduated from Gyeongdong High School and dropped out of the Department of Business Administration at Yonsei University. He worked in theatre for a while and in 1955, began his life in movies by helping in the production of Director Shin Sang-ok's Dream (Kkum) (1955). He made his directorial debut the next year with The Sea (Haejeong) (1956). He directed and produced 24 fictional films and 26 documentary films. Of those, A Happy Businesswoman (Ttosuni) (1963), The DMZ (Bimujang Jidae) (1965) and Family Meeting (Gajog Hoe-ui) (1962) are considered his most important works. He was active during the late 50s and 60s, the golden age of Korean cinema, and usually made movies about family with a melodramatic element. He passed away in 2006. He is the older brother of actress Park Jung-ja.