Nambugun: North Korean Partisan in South Korea
Cast: Ahn Sung-ki, Choi Min-soo, Choi Jin-sil, Lee Hye-young
Film genre: War, Historical
157 mins, 1990
Director Chung Ji-young has managed to capture a previously rarely seen aspect of the Korean War, focusing on the North Korean side of the conflict and lending humanism to his characters. When the American forces begin military action in Korea, citizens were ordered by communist leaders to join the partisans. The film is based on the experiences of real-life war correspondent Lee Tae as his unit journeys through the country’s wild and untamed mountains. Far from a typical war film, Nambugun turns its attention to the men and women, soldiers and civilians fighting for survival in the conflict. Whichever side they’re on, each character is portrayed as inherently human, with the war as a monstrous backdrop over which they have little power. Nambugun provides an honest and engaging look at an otherwise overlooked subject and does so with outstanding performances and visual flair.