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    Reader comments on Double Agent

    Subject: Re: Joshua Tanzer's review of
    Date: May 26, 2003
    Sender: Harry KPrevious | Next

    I recently saw this film at the Subway Film Festival in Manhattan and must agree with Joshua's take on the moral ambiguity of the movie. After 50 brutal years of Japanese colonialism and 60 years of partitioning by the US and USSR there's absolutely an ambivalence, unfiltered realism and even emotional despondency that threads throughout the emotional delivery of much of Korean film and literature that's intriguing and at the same time alienating to the sensibilities of American critics and audiences.

    "I have no doubt about its realism but I would be curious how this kind of film is seen by Koreans themselves."

    this is a really interesting dynamic for Korean audiences. The idea of North and South Korea is an entirely foreign construct for Koreans. If you take the entirity of Korean history as a 24 hour period... you'd have 23 hours 35 minutes of Korea as a single nation with one culture and ethnic group and roughly 25 minutes of there existing anything along the idea of a cultural or ethnic division along the lines of North Korea and South Korea... the idea of North KOREANS versus South Koreans as 2 separate peoples doesn't even exist.

    For both Lim Byung-ho and Yun Su-mi the idea of wavering, ambiguous loyalty is as simple as choosing which you want to die... between your mother and father. With a choice like that there are no heroes and no right or wrong answer. It's this context that Korean audiences would sympathize with the protagonists in this movie.

    Previous: Joshua Tanzer's review of  | Next: [no subject]

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Double Agent

    Response to this comment:
    Joshua Tanzer's review of

    In re Mr. Tanzer's words, "With the two sides' brief rapprochement now in shambles," it only seems that way if one reads/watches nothing other than mainstream U.S. media.

    The two Koreas have recently reconnected their west coast rail line and opened a highway break in the border near the east coast, which has already been traveled by South Korean tourists visiting the famed Diamond Mountains (Geumgangsan, also romanized Kumgangsan) on the northern side. South Korea continues to give North Korea food aid following several drought years which devastated the North's agriculture. Shambles? Hardly. Difficult? Certainly.

    For the South Korean mainstream viewpoint of what's going on, in English, I suggest going online to (The Korea Herald news daily).

    Editor's note: Thank you for this perspective. I admit, I don't feel current enough on the situation except for a few things I hear from Korean friends, so I really would like to hear more from knowledgeable people about how they perceive this movie.

    Comment index:

  • In a Korean Perspective   from Katherine, May 17, 2003
  • Joshua Tanzer's review of   from Edwin Bergmann, May 19, 2003
  • » Re: Joshua Tanzer's review of «   from Harry K, May 26, 2003
  • [no subject]   from nakre, Sep 3, 2004
  • hi   from AliceJoh , May 31, 2012
  • hi   from Alicejoh , May 31, 2012
  • In a Korean Perspective   from Katherine, May 17, 2003
  • Joshua Tanzer's review of   from Edwin Bergmann, May 19, 2003
  • » Re: Joshua Tanzer's review of «   from Harry K, May 26, 2003
  • [no subject]   from nakre, Sep 3, 2004
  • hi   from AliceJoh , May 31, 2012
  • hi   from Alicejoh , May 31, 2012