Joint Security Area Movie | Joint Security Area Full Movie | 2000


Cast (in credits order)  

Lee Yeong-aeLee Yeong-ae...Maj. Sophie E. Jean
Lee Byung-hunLee Byung-hun...Sgt. Lee Soo-hyeok
Song Kang-hoSong Kang-ho...Sgt. Oh Kyeong-pil
Kim Tae-wooKim Tae-woo...Nam Sung-shik
Shin Ha-kyunShin Ha-kyun...Jeong Woo-jin
Herbert UlrichHerbert Ulrich...Swedish soldier
Christoph HofrichterChristoph Hofrichter...Maj. Gen. Bruno Botta
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Micara AdrianaMicara Adriana
Gallego AlbertoGallego Alberto
Ahmedov AyderAhmedov Ayder
Cannon Greg CourtneyCannon Greg Courtney
Lee Do-yeopLee Do-yeop...South Korean soldier #7
Naeem GhefariNaeem Ghefari...Jzzj (as Naeem Ghafari)
Ju-bong GiJu-bong Gi...General Pyo
Isaac GreenIsaac Green
Lim Il-GyuLim Il-Gyu...Police officer
Tae-Hyun JinTae-Hyun Jin...South Korean military (as Tae-hyeon Kim)
Kwang-il KimKwang-il Kim...Civil Servant #3
Nam-hee KwonNam-hee Kwon...Jung Woo-Jin's Mother (as Namhee Kwon)
Dae-yeon LeeDae-yeon Lee...Sgt. Kwang
Han-wi LeeHan-wi Lee...Major Kang
Jong-yong LeeJong-yong Lee...Sophie's Father
Kim Myung-sooKim Myung-soo...Top Ranking Officer Choi (as Myoeng-su Kim)

Joint Security Area Movie Trailer

JSA – Joint Security Area Official Trailer

Joint Security Area Film Description

In Joint Security Area Movie Following a general moratorium on film exports, JSA was one of the first few Korean films to appear in the West, being associated with the emerging Korean 'New Wave' cinema. 

It was one of the most successful and expensive films made in the country at the time, and thus director Chan-wook Park's breakthrough film. 

Park has since gone on to direct cult items such as Oldboy, in which he combines a certain sense of stagecraft with his own visual, kinetic flamboyance. 

A compelling and moving work in its own right, JSA makes something haunting and memorable out of a situation that could have easily proved preachy and dull.

It takes place entirely in Panmunjom, the Korea DMZ peace village, where North and South Koreans face off under the terms of a 50-year-old treaty, staring at each other across a thin sliver of land, spyglasses and rifle barrels Hovering over, or staring at each other down a boundary line. 

The country's bitter division provides a frequent backdrop to much of its cinema, which, along the way, haunts the Japanese as the specter of past nuclear annihilation. But there is a difference. 

Japanese cinema often depicts the dangerous unity of clan, kin or country in times of crisis. In Korean cinema, the brothers are often divided, with a fractured society threatening and fighting itself around them. 

The sometimes violent resolution of a country's famous standoff promises mutually assured destruction, as symbolically presented at the climax of Attack the Gas Station! (1999). 

In other films it may appear as part of an action thriller (Shiree), or more recently as the basis for a war film (Taegugi, 2004), and so on. In the more intense JSA, national division provides a starting point for an examination of the human condition, as soldiers on both sides of the line discover what it's like to establish warm, normal conversation – even at terrible cost.

"There are two kinds of people in this world – the Commie bastards and the enemies of the Commie bastards," says a South Korean officer to Swiss investigator Major Sophie Jeon (Yeong-ae Lee) at the beginning of Park's film. 

Jean works for the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. Earlier his superior warned him that his real job was not to investigate "the who, but the why" and that "the result is less important than the process."

But as Jean delves deeper into recent events with an urgency born of her family history, the revelation proves, like Rashmon, that the truth is by no means black and white. 

In fact the opening scenes, involving the rigid protocols for his job, are the least satisfying of the film. (a fact compounded by actress Lee's poor spoken English and the woodenness of her Swedish partner). 

It's only once the viewer enters into the soldiers' experience - a process gradually revealed through multiple at-times-subtle flashbacks - that the JSA becomes interesting.

JSA was a controversial success in Korea. The action is set very precisely on the borderline between the two societies and Park was concerned with making it as realistic as possible, spending $1 million on the construction of his own Panmunjom.

As a narrative his film is deliberately less precise, hovering between military thriller, patriotic tragedy, tale of personal loyalty as we learn more about the soldiers, now tight-lipped under independent interrogation. 

Enemy, then friend, comrade and brother, the men's deepening relationship also suggests a more forbidden attraction, which proved unsettling for home audiences. 

Ultimately, the 'Joint Security Area Movie' becomes less a place of military standoff than a place where emotional ties should provide their own justification and balance.

The structure of Park's film is an intriguing one: a straightforward and reasonably suspenseful investigation of an outrage frames a sequence of flashbacks and memories, often presented in a non-linear way, that elucidate the main story. 

In between there is some newsreel footage as well as some exploration of Major Jean's motivations, while the feelings of the soldiers concerned are never made clear, only explored through past events. 

The director's achievement lies in convincingly explaining all this, taking the viewer from the coldness of a military tribunal to the warm realm of human emotion.

There are many moments to savor in the JSA, some of which take place within the no man's land between the two societies – a neutrality that encourages self reflection and recognition between the main participants: between two border patrols for example icy, wordless encounters, where the tension melts away with a cigarette; Or the first encounter between Sergeant Oh and Sergeant Lee on a cold winter night, out of breath in a field surrounded by mines. 

Elsewhere Park's camera records the absurdity of little border etiquette, at one point shooting over the dividing line where soldiers square off against each other, putting the figures in some crazy grid of their own making. (At one point two soldiers in the park mock the seriousness and harshness of the border by playing a spitting game across the line.) 

Later there is a similar overhead shot, this time looking down on the fallen soldier's face in the rain. 

The camera also plays a memorable role in the film's final scene, as a simple snapshot is superseded by a slow pan that extracts a final, silent comment of its own from the composition.

When asked earlier why a soldier had left his post only to seek relief, the answer came as follows: "Constipated people should take advantage of it while they have the opportunity."

It's a philosophy that informs the JSA well. Not to fixate on this one point too much, the film suggests that, blocked by its own political impasse, Korea needs to loosen up and seek relief. Park's film shows one way, maybe not the best, but a memorable story nonetheless.

The Korean Peninsula is divided like no other. The two countries are still waging a Cold War of sorts, divided by loyalties to different sects. 

Not an easy subject to tackle, but Joint Security Area Movie takes the subject and smoothes the edges to show us that there is hope and beauty beneath.

The film revolves around the investigation of a border-side murder. Unbeknownst to the investigators, their investigation has intertwined a friendship that developed behind the backs of their superiors of the two sets of border guards on either side of the bridge that divides the countries. 

Secret friendships seem to subtly center around the whole Korean division issue, but minor animosity still raises its head time and again, yet without the need for any over-theatrics, men all respect and ultimately all. 

Next they start taking care of each other. Expectedly, the whole situation comes to a head, and they have some strong emotional moments but the education for anyone who sees it makes up for the rest.

I can't think of any more emotional subjects or movies I've seen this year. The acting and direction are spot on, while the screenplay is funny and emotional.

Korean movies are so far ahead of everyone else, it just defies belief. Highly recommended, you can't go wrong with this gem of a film.

Chan-wook Park's most politically influenced film deals with the volatile tensions that exist between North and South Koreans. 

It could easily have been propaganda in nature, with this South Korean film portraying Northerners as mere caricatures of Communist ideals, but instead the film happily sidesteps this and demonizes both North Koreans and South Koreans. portrayed as relatives.

At the beginning of the picture, both sides have a skewed view of each other, viewing each through the lens of their own political disposition – thus interpreting the border between the two as a wall that separates each. 

Filters and Z's the perspective. However, once that wall is crossed, both sides discover that no wall actually exists, and they begin to see each other as human beings - the soldiers at first refer to each other as "enemies". But soon they are calling each other "brother".

The characters are richly drawn and dynamic to reflect this - each are human beings, with their own unique mannerisms, and that their national identity is nothing more than a facade. 

While the soldiers are alone, away from their government infrastructure, both sides cling to each other in fellowship because they find themselves equals. Only when the absent government element is re-introduced are the soldiers forced to retreat behind their masks and the tragedy results.

A powerfully moving and deeply intelligent analysis of the confusing political situation between two opposing systems of government. 

Despite being slightly marred by some lapses in melodrama and exaggeration, that can't take away from its piercing effectiveness.

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