White Badge

White Badge01
Film info

Director: Chung Ji-young
Cast: Ahn Sung-ki, Lee Gyoung-young, Shim Hye-jin, Doko Young-jae
124mins, 1992

Based on Ahn Jung-Hyo’s 1983 novel Of War and the Metropolis, reissued as The White War in 1993, White Badge is a gripping account of the lives of South Korean soldiers involved in the Vietnam War, and its impact on their lives. Set during the late 70’s, the film follows Han Ki-Ju, a novelist whose publisher commissions him the difficult task of writing a book on his yearlong tour as a volunteer soldier in the war. As he begins writing, he is contacted by his old warmate Pyon Chin-Su, who never fully recovered from the horrors of the conflict, and exhibits worrying symptoms of trauma. Ki-Ju is forced to relive difficult memories of a time he’d been trying to forget. His writing and encounters with Chin-Su are punctuated by flashbacks of the war, which recount the realities of the soldiers lives with unflinching honesty. The film was screened as part of the official selection in the Tokyo and Toronto International Film Festivals and remains a gritty and captivating depiction of a rarely seen side of the Vietnam War.   

Birkbeck Cinema, 12 Jan 2019 10:30 am

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