Monday, September 23, 2013

Movie of the Week – J.S.A.: Joint Security Area

This week’s movie: J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000).

To avoid an international conflict after the alleged murder of two North Korean soldiers by one South Korean Soldier, a team of neutral investigators is brought in to examine all the evidence and interview the suspect. However, upon digging deeper, something just does not fit the official story: sixteen bullets are recovered for a gun that only holds fifteen. So what really happened?

The film is written and directed by Korean auteur Chan-wook Park. While it is his third feature, the film served as his breakthrough both in Korean and for an international audience. He has since gone on to make the acclaimed films Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, and Thirst. He also directed this year’s Stoker. Park worked with composers Jun-Seok Bang and Yeong-wook Jo, cinematographer Sung-Bok Kim, and art director James David Goldmark on the film.

With J.S.A. Chan-wook Park plays in many genres. At face value, the film works as a mystery with the details of what really happened slowly being divulged to the audience. The film can also be taken as a political statement about the ridiculous of Koreans being raised to hate and fear their neighbors (to the North or South). But, personally, I think it works best as a character piece, looking at the transformation of a man through friendship. It is a must-see for fans of Asian cinema and those that enjoy mysteries.

Trailer: Here
Available on: DVD

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