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Nambugun:
North Korean Partisan
In South Korea
(Nambugun,
南部軍 / 남부군)

Director – Chung Ji-Young – 1990 – South Korea – LEAFF Cert. 15 – 157m

*****

Gritty account of the Korean War based on the memoirs of a North Korean soldier – plays as part of a strand showcasing director Chung Ji-Young at the 2023 London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) which runs from Wednesday, October 18th to Sunday, October 29th

Based on the Korean War memoirs of Lee Tae (Ahn Sung-ki), a former North Korean news agency correspondent who fought for the North Korean partisans, this is a long and gruelling account of the Korean War, a South Korean production exploring a North Korean perspective. We rarely see inside the ranks of the South Korean forces. The partisans are all ‘comrades’ and women as well as men number among their ranks.

Inevitably, romantic attachments occur, although these are frowned upon and quickly quashed by superior officers. Which leaves separated parties desperate for news of their transferred objects of affection.

One particularly arresting sequence has Northern partisans shooting at Southern soldiers across an area of farmland until a child, seemingly oblivious to the very concept of warfare, wanders into the crossfire area. Both sides halt their shooting and come to a recognition of the humanity of the other.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

First Cow

Director – Kelly Reichardt – 2019 – US – Cert. N/C 15+ – 122m

***1/2

Western (set in Oregon!) in which a drifter and an immigrant join forces to surreptitiously milk a rich man’s first cow and better their lot – in UK cinemas from Friday, May 28th

A woman with a dog (Alia Shawcat) discovers two human corpses in the present day Oregon woods. Flashback to the nineteenth century. Cookie (John Magaro), a drifter, is the cook attached to a party of trappers travelling through the woodlands. He’s a poor scavenger for food and as a result, they are starving – with much acrimony directed towards him. As soon as they find a small settlement, he departs company and lets the trappers go on their way without him. He watches a rich local take delivery of his first cow with plans for buying a mate and breeding a herd later on.

Cookie falls in with Chinese immigrant King-Lu (Orion Lee) who has a hut nearby. They bond over a bottle of wine at King-Lu’s shack in the woods and become friends. Finding the cow wandering near their dwelling, they hatch a plan to milk it secretly at night (cookie milks while King-Lu keeps watch from a nearby tree) and use the milk as an ingredient in oily cakes, which they start selling at the settlement and which become a huge success overnight.… Read the rest