The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts…
Welcome to Dongmakgol
Based on the long running play by Jang Jin, the story is set in Korea during the Korean War in 1950. Soldiers from both the North and South, as well as an American pilot, find themselves in a secluded and naively idealistic village, its residents unaware of the outside world, including the war.
During the Korean War two soldiers from the South and three from the North end up in the desolate mountain village Dongmakgol whose inhabitants have no idea of the ongoing war, or the separation for that matter.
The five soldiers coming straight from the battlefield of course see each other as enemies resulting in a tense, hilarious and ultimately stupid standoff with the villagers caught in between. After all it’s Koreans aiming with rifles at Koreans with Koreans in the middle. But somehow that clusterfuck of a situation gets resolved and the villagers teach all five Korean soldiers that they all are humans, just by taking care of them without any prejudice.
Add to that an American pilot who crash-landed…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I am so pleased to be able to recognize a score composed by Joe Hisaishi by ear alone. Truly beautiful work, as always. Delightful.
This movie is a strong example of a Korean film that successfully splices a hybridity of genres into one film. It manages to be goofy, tragic, lighthearted, cautionary, and hopeful, without coming off as facile or overstuffed with war truths. While there is violence included in this film, the focus is on the effort of the villagers and soldiers who try to coexist peacefully with one another, and eventually find out just how easy it is to do so. Soldiers learning to see each other as the brothers that they naturally are, despite their command’s respective alliances. Brotherhood in a time of strife, miscommunication, and crippling uncertainty. The good stuff.
Definitely a must see when in comes to war films.
A little bizarre, absurd and nonsensical funny war/comedy/drama/romance film from South-Korea that actually manages to juggle different genres and stir up a wide array of different emotions really well. And hey, finally a war-film with brilliant colors instead of bombing the entire film with sepia/bleached tones!
The plot is simple; 5 Koreans meet up in a desolate, cute village whom somehow never got the news that the Korean War had broken out. Hilarity ensues as a sort of "clash-between-cultures" film, just far more heartfelt and sweet than those films usually are, because of some wonderfully off-beat characters mixed up with normal characters. They even kick it back to the Hong-Kong's action cinema of the 1980's for a short 5 minutes…
Somehow you can always tell when a film is based on a play and this really didn't manage to make me forget that. Got a bit of an odd look going on anyway and feels really a lot longer than it needed to be.
Some moments are very cute (Poetic Popcorn) but yeah I found it quite slow going and the crazy girl was a bit too annoying and everything was a bit too cheesy for me to really get into the spirit of it.
The closest thing to a live action Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki film.
Its moving, anti-war thematics paired with visually striking cinematography and the fantastic score by Joe Hisaishi, the comparison is without a doubt warranted.
Being just a tad too long with few shoddy acting bits and some poor CGI prevented this from being what would have been a truly great live action envision of a Miyazaki film.
Film #6 of the "Super Summer Scavenger Hunt"
Task #4 : Watch a friend’s favorite movie
While I was scanning through Jaime Schroemgens (my co-scavenger hunter) favorite movies, I came across Welcome to Dongmakgol. He has a huge interest in Asian cinema and seen a ton of Asian movies. Welcome to Dongmakgol is one of the few 5-star Asian movies on his list so it got my attention right away.
The story is surprisingly great. A few soldiers of opposite sides find refuge in the same mountain village. The people in this village are self-sustaining and have zero idea of the war that’s going on beneath them. It leads to some very funny scenes. The Mexican (or Korean)…
Film #4 of the "Super Summer Scavenger Hunt"
Task #30 your favorite movie of all time.
I couldnt make up my mind about my favourite movie of all time!
I had to make a chois and since ive seen Forrest Gump atleast 7 times i went for Welcome to Dongmagkol.
There is war going on in Korea and due to circumstances some soldiers from different camps end up in Dongmakgol. Dongmakgol is a peacefull village high up in the mountains. They have no knowledge of a war thats threatening their country.
The movie will make you laugh, smile, maybe cry, and melt! To me it has it all. It contains some beautifull shots, well made scenes and funny moments…
Overlong as all hell, but pleasant enough thanks to its distinctly Korean oddball mix of comedic and dramatic tones, good performances from the Korean actors (not so much the American actors), some charmingly low-rent CG, and a few solid action sequences, especially the finale.
That plus it can join JSA: Joint Security Area in the camp of "Korean films about the North vs. South War that are also heavy bromance tragedies". This is a good genre to be.
That boar scene was amazing. Experimental at its core.
An interesting, surreal take on the anti-war genre, Welcome to Dongmakgol is an impressive feature film debut for director Park Kwang-hyun and a modern Korean classic. Although it has numerous scenes that extend far beyond their welcome, its unique cast of characters and Ghibli-esque atmosphere (due in no small part to the music composed by Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi) make it a memorable film.
Welcome to Dongmakgol is just really, really good. Happy I got to see it for the first time on the big screen.
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