Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • The Hottest Potato of Them All
  • by LEE Eun-sun / 02.26.2013
  • Jiseul

    ▶ information
    Director O Muel | Starring LEE Kyoung-jun, HONG Sang-pyo, MUN Seok-bum, YANG Jeong-won | Genre Drama | Running Time 108 min | Rating TBD | Release Date Mar 1
    ▶ synopsis
    In November 1948, inhabitants of Jeju evacuated from the island after they heard the terrible rumor that, “Any human within 5km from the coast line will be regarded as a rioter.” Unaware of what is going on, the refuges hiding in the mountains share hot potatoes believing they will go home soon.
    ‘Jiseul’ is Jeju’s local word for ‘Potato’. Jiseul became a hot issue when it won 4 awards at the Busan International Film Festival last year. This year, it even gained world wide acclaim by receiving the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the Sundance Film Festival. After that, it was invited to the Spectrum section of the International Film Festival Rotterdam and picked the Cyclo d’Or (Golden Wheel) at the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema. This dark page of Jeju’s history has now received international attention.

    Jiseul is a monochrome film about the Jeju Uprising that happened on April 3rd in 1948 from O Muel, a director from Jeju who sticks to stories about his Island. With the intention to make people remember the incident forgotten in history for 65 years, he once said, “I think it is a big achievement to make people remember history that we must never forget.” He also said, “The Jeju Uprising is not merely a part of Jeju’s history. We need to look at the incident through the eyes of Korean history and world history. I will be honored if Jiseul can successfully suggest a starting point to correctly recognize the incident as both each individual’s personal history and our own.”

    The Jeju Uprising is a tragic part of Korean modern history and at the same time, a significant incident in world history. The director zoomed in on the past incident to look at the peaceful daily life and harsh reality of innocent people. The islanders were too naive and the soldiers were also victims in a way. The lingering pain after the incident has not fully been cured yet. Spectators also know that it is not merely a film. Jiseul will be released in Jeju island first before it meets more viewers in other cities including Seoul.
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