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Early Korean Cinema

Military Train + Volunteer

Joining the Japanese army: film propaganda from colonial Korea.

Image from Military Train + Volunteer

Military Train

군용열차

Korea 1938
Dir Suh Kwang-je
With Mun Ye-bong, Wang Pyong, Dok Wun-gil
66min
35mm
English subtitles

The most problematic of the colonial products were the ‘military recruitment’ films. Designed to encourage Korean men to join the army, these films give a highly inaccurate vision of the colonial experience. Military Train follows two young friends who drive military transport trains with tragic results.

Volunteer

지원병

Korea 1941
Dir Anh Seok-young
With Choi Woon-bong, Lee Geum-ryong, Mun Ye-bong, Kim Il hae
56min
35mm
English subtitles

Volunteer charts the tale of Chun-hoo, a young Korean man desperate to join the Japanese Army. While narratively the film is pro-Japanese propaganda, the mise-en-scene, cinematography and use of sound make it a valuable addition to this season.

The screening on Saturday 16 February will be introduced by Baek Moonim, Yonsei University.


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