KOREA / 2003 / Korean, Vietnamese / Color, B&W / Video / 82 min
Director, Editing: Lee Mario
Photography: Kong Mi-yeun
Sound: Kweon Hyeok-gu
Music: Ma Do-won
Assistant Director: Hong Moon-jeong
Location Coordinator: Nguyen Thi Hien Trang
Producers: Lee An-sook, Kim Hee-jeon
Production Company, World Sales: Seoul Visual Collective
A young Korean film crew visits the site of a civilian massacre that occurred thirty years ago, during the time when Korean soldiers were fighting the Vietnam War in support of the U.S. army. As they recall the war, tension created by the camera and undying anger resonates in the testimonies of survivors and bereaved families of those killed. The crew also listens to ex-Korean soldiers, now peace activists, and together they confront their country’s past as perpeturator of violence towards the Vietnamese people. While reflecting on those absent from the screen, and silently protesting against ever-present wars in the world, the film explores the path towards peace and coexistence for the future.
[Director’s Statement] There is a saying that goes, “The reason we have to learn history is because it repeats itself.” This saying has all the more weight in the present age.
The South Korean government dispatched soldiers to Iraq even before offering an official apology to Vietnam for massive killings of civilians during the Vietnam War. The government went even further to cut a dirty deal with the U.S. by providing military support in exchange for better footing in addressing the nuclear issues of North Korea.
This documentary was made to prevent a misguided and scarred history from being repeated.
Born 1971 in Donghae, Korea, Lee Mario entered the Seoul Visual Collective in 1998, and that year worked as an assistant director on Reclaiming Our Names (1998), which won the Woonpa Fund Award for best Korean documentary at the 3rd Pusan International Film Festival. He has worked as an editor and cinematographer on Shoot the Sun by Lyric (1999), and as an editor on Doomealee, the Very First Step (2000) which was included in the New Asian Currents program at YIDFF 2001. In addition to having been widely screened in Japan, his directorial work Rip It Up! (2001) was also invited to the 2001 Seoul Independent DOcumentary Film & Video Festival and the 6th Seoul Human Rights Film Festival in 2002.