Sunday, November 10, 2013

Locations and Forms of Power - 71 Into The Fire (MOVIE):

The 71 student-soldiers in front 
of P'ohang-dong Girl's Middle School.

Oh Jang-Beom, one of the student-soldiers 
(the protagonist).

71 Into the Fire is a Korean War Drama Movie filmed in 2010 and directed by the movie director Lee Jae-han in Korea. The movie was based on real-life events and was made as a commemoration for the student-soldiers that fought during the Korean War between South Korea and North Korea in order to raise awareness and show how important the sacrifices of those young people brought to the country.

 P'ohang-dong Girl's Middle School.

The movie is shown through the eyes of a South Korean student-soldier called Oh Jang-Beom who had to deliver supplies and bullets during the battle inside Yeondeok (North Gyeonsang Province) and since he was an under-trained and clueless soldier, he was terrified and completely lost, not knowing what to do or where to stand.  During that battle, the North Korean soldiers outnumbered the South Korean ones which meant that the South Korean side had to retreat from the battle, that’s how Oh Jang-Beom, the protagonist, was saved by one of his superiors.
Unfortunately, while everyone tried to save themselves from the enemy, said superior was harshly hurt protecting Jang-Beom from a North Korean soldier. Feeling guilty for not being brave enough to save him, Jang-Beom stays by his superior side until the end and holds his hand until said man lets out his last breath. Deciding to keep the bullet who was supposed to save his superior from that north Korean soldier as a memento, Jang-Beom was chosen as the leader of the troop of student-soldier in the era of Pohang and their mission was to protect P’ohang-dong Girls’s middle school because it was a strategic point for safeguarding the Nakdong River from an North Korean assault. Nakdong River was an important battle because if the South Korean army loses against the enemy there, the war is over for them; that’s why the student-soldiers were used as a shield made of human flesh in order to slow down the approach of the North Korean backups towards Nakdong River.

To sum up the whole movie, the story is about how Oh Jang-Beom tries to lead the group of student soldiers but most of them (everyone) didn’t know how to use weapons and they never fought in a war. They thought that they could crush the enemy easily because the US army was on their side, but they were just a group of young people who never held a gun. 
A trio of thugs who aren't soldiers joined the battle because they wanted to “kick some communist behind” and because of the arrogance of those three (whose leader is a man called Gu Kap-Jo), Jang Beom has a hard time leading the student soldiers.


I decided to pick this movie for the “Notion of Power” because its one of my favorite movies and I also think that the Korean war is pretty important in our lives because it’s still an actual conflict nowadays and we can also see how the army can be desperate and irresponsible to the point of sending out a group of teenagers and students, who were supposed to be the country’s future, fight against a group of brutes ready to die for their countries. We can also see the power of brainwashing in the South Korean troops because they told them that the North Korean were monsters that had to die, but once they met them in real life, they were normal people just like them; the only difference was the reason they were fighting for. 
In other words, the war controlled its people and wasted the lives of hundreds of them because of different ideals. Everyone had a future but all their capacities and dreams were shattered because of different influences that touched both sides of Korea. The North Korean who were communist and wanted to unify Korea as a communist country; and the South Korean soldiers who were against such ideas and who were supported by the US army.



Oh Jang-Beom last meeting with his mother.

1 comment:

  1. An original choice, Kounouz.
    As I have not seen this film, I'm looking forward to learning about it through your oral presentation.