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Miryang gang rape, the case which inspired Korean movie Han Gong-ju (2013)

Directed by Lee Su-jin, Han Gong-ju (2013) is a South Korean film starring Chun Woo-hee in the title role.

Based on the infamous 2014 Miryang gang rape, the film follows a rape victim named Gong-ju who is forced to change schools and trying to rebuild her life.

The movie premiered at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival. It also won numerous award including the Golden Star at the 2013 Marrakech International Film Festival, the Jury Prize, the Critic’s Prize and the Audience Award at the 2014 Deauville Asian Film Festival.

Any and every rape case is heinous, but the Miryang gang rape case and the issues around it will make your blood boil.

Here are five things you need to know about Miryang gang rape, the case which inspired Korean movie Han Gongju (2013):

1.Behind the scenes of Han Gongju (2013)

Speaking to the Korean Film Council in an interview, director Lee Su-jin said the movie was inspired by a true story although he did not attempt to recreate the entire story.

Instead, the director decided to focus more on the life of the victim after the crime rather than on the crime itself.

At the same time, he wanted to give courage to all the Han Gong-jus out there who find themselves in the same situation.

Miryang Gang rape case
Chun Woo-hee as Gong-ju in the movie. Credits: Youtube

2.What happened?

In 2004, at least 41 male high school students gang raped several middle school and high school girls over the course of 11 months in Miryang city.

The first victim was raped up to 10 times by three to 24 high school boys in each occurrence.

The boys even blackmailed her to keep quiet unless she wanted pictures of her rape to spread around her school.

Then, the girl was ordered to bring her cousin and younger sister. Both of them became victims of the boys’ assaults. The boys were also accused of raping two other girls.

3.What happened to the criminals?

One of the victims’ aunts reported the rape to the police. In the beginning, the policeman only arrested three of the boys. This triggered anger and protests from the public.

The police subsequently arrested nine other students and booked 19 of them without detention.

The most frustrating part was that ultimately only five of the suspects were sent to a juvenile detention center. None of the 41 rapists were convicted of criminal charges.

Rumour has it that some of the boys came from affluent families but it is not confirmed.

This is not the only time the South Korean court was accused of giving light sentences in a rape case.

In an unrelated case, a suspected rapist was acquitted by the South Korean court due to his penis being too curved (!) to have been put in the victim’s vagina without assistance.

4.The aftermath of the Miryang gang rape

In 2008, the South Korean Supreme Court ordered the state to compensate the victims for violating their rights and leaking their identities to the media.

One of the police officers who was stationed at the Ulsan Southern District Police Precinct allegedly told the victim, “You have ruined the reputation of Miryang.”

Some other comments by the police include “Did you try to entice the guys?”, “The boys would lead the city were all arrested” and “I am afraid that my daughter will be like you.”

Moreover, the police leaked enough documents to the media for them to identify the victims.

Even worse, the police forced the victims to directly face the suspects instead of viewing them through a one-way mirror.

The Supreme Court stated in the ruling, “By making the victims identify their attackers in an open area, the police failed to protect the rights of the victims and caused them to suffer humiliation. Such an act can never be justified even with the stated claim by the police that they did so to expedite the probe.”

With that the court said the state must pay each victim 30 million won and their mothers 10 million won.

5.The similarities between Miryang gang rape and Han Gong-ju (2013)

The movie never directly references the real-case, although when the main character Gong-ju (Chun Woo-hee) is asked by her friend at her new school if she’s ever been kissed, after a painful pause – Gong-ju replies about 40 times. This is the number of offenders in the real life Miryang case.

Another similarity is when a group of angry parents attacked Gong-ju for having put their sons in jail.

In the Miryang case, one of the girls reportedly had to quit school. She was repeatedly visited by the boys’ parents in the classroom and verbally attacked for reporting their sons to the police.

Besides that, the victims were blamed for “seducing the boys” and “not behaving properly as girls.”

#KajoPicks: 10 South Korean fantasy movies you need to watch

A good fantasy movie is always fun to watch. Well, primarily because these movies challenge your imagination.

Here are 10 South Korean fantasy movies for you to watch:

1.Vanishing Time: A Boy who Returned (2016)

Vanishing Time: A Boy who Returned (2016) is a Korean fantasy movie inspired by true events.

Director Um Tae-hwa was inspired by the 2014 sinking of MV Sewol where 304 people died.

He believed that the government tried to hide the truth after the Sewol disaster.

The story follows 13-year-old Su-rin who moves to a remote island with her step-father after her mother passes away.

There, she befriends an orphan boy named Sung-min. One day, they decide to explore a cave together with a group of kids.

During their adventure, they discover a glittering egg. According to their local folktale, the egg could instantly turn a child into an adult.

Believing the myth, Su-rin tries to stop the boys from taking the egg. However, the boys take the egg anyway.

When she follows them out of the cave, she finds that the rest of the group have disappeared.

Hence, the police is immediately dispatched. They assume that this is an abduction case and begin their investigation.

Meanwhile, Su-rin tells the police about finding the egg but nobody believes her.

Suddenly, a mysterious man in his 30s shows up and tells Su-rin that he is Sung-min.

Starring Gang Dong-won as adult Sung-min and Shin Eun-soo as Soo-rin, the movie is Tae-hwa’s second long film. He is mainly known for his short films.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard (2009)

Here is another Korean fantasy movie starring Gang Dong-won. Based on a Korean folktale, the film was the third best selling film of 2009 in Korea.

The story begins in the Chosun Dynasty in 1509 when there is a magician named Jeon Woo Chi (Gang Dong-won) and his dog-turned-man.

Eventually, Jeon Woo Chi is sealed inside an ancient scroll for a crime he did not commit. Fast forward to 2009, he is summoned from the scroll to bring peace in a modern day Korea wracked by goblins.

The problem is Jeon Woo Chi becomes more interested in sight-seeing and womanizing rather than save the day.

Also known as Woochi: The Demon Slayer, this Korean fantasy movie is written and directed by Choi Dong-hoon.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The Piper (2015)

After the Korean War, Woo-ryong (Ryoo Seung-ryong) and his son Young-Nam (Goo Seung-hyun) walk to Seoul.

Woo-ryong wants to get Young-nam treated for tuberculosis. Along the way there, they find an obscured path on a mountainside road.

Woo-ryong decides to take the hidden path. The father and son pair soon come across a village. At first look, the village appears well-off and peaceful. The residents are led by a village leader (Lee Sung-min).

Subsequently, Woo-ryong learns the village is an idyllic place to live, except the area is infested with rats.

He offers to get rid of the rats and the village leader offers to pay him a hefty sum in return.

At the same time, Woo-ryong also falls for a young female shaman (Chun Woo-hee) in the village.

While everything appears to be going well, Woo-ryong’s nightmare is about to begin.

This fantasy movie is inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The legend dates back to the Middle Ages, describing a piper who dressed in multicoloured (which is the meaning behind ‘pied’) clothing.

The piper was hired by the town to lure rats away. We warn you; The Piper (2015) is the darker and more twisted version of the legend.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Will You Be There? (2016)

Soo-hyeon (Kim Yun-seok) is a successful physician who, during a humanitarian aid operation, saves the grandchild of an elder in Cambodia.

In return, he receives a few pills, which he tries when he is back in Korea.

As it turns out, these pills take him exactly 30 years back in time.

Knowing that he doesn’t have much time left due to a serious illness, he wants to meet his girlfriend Yeon-ah (Chae Seo-jin) who died in an accident (coincidentally) 30 years ago.

When he meets his younger self (Byun Yo-han), he realises that he can change the past.

As time runs out for him, can Soo-hyeon change his future by toying with the past?

Will You Be There? (2016) is based on the French novel, Seras-tu-la?, by Guillaume Musso.

Watch the trailer here.

5.The Phone (2015)

Here is another Korean fantasy movie about people wanting to rescue their dead loved ones.

A magnetic field anomaly allows a man to phone into the past to talk to his wife before she is murdered.

To save her, he has to identify the killer and warn her before the anomaly vanishes.

Through the phone call, the man enters a thrilling battle against time to rescue his wife.

This action thriller fantasy film is directed by Kim Bong-ju in his directorial debut.

It stars Son Hyun-joo, Uhm Ji-won and Bae Seong-woo.

Watch the trailer here.

6.The Restless (2016)

The Koreans believe that when a person dies, their soul spends 49 days in Jungcheon before their eternal fate is decided.

From there, they either go to heaven, hell or rebirth. And that is where accomplished demon hunter Yi Kwak finds himself as he lies on the edge of death.

Following his fiancee Yon-hwa’s tragic death, Yi enlisted with the royal squad of elite demon exterminators.

He enters Jungcheon where he finds Yon-hwa again. Unfortunately, she does not recognise him as she is a spirit of the afterlife now.

Moreover, she is deeply entangled in a great war between the white-clad warriors of reincarnation and a swarm of dark spirits determined to invade the living world.

The battle is desperately close to a terrifying ending, so Yi must draw his sword to defend the woman he loves.

To make matter worse, his deceased former mentor Banchu is the mastermind behind the demonic rebellion of dark spirits in Jungcheon.

Directed by Jo Dong-ho, The Restless (2006) stars Kim Tae-hee and Jung Woo-sung.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Psychokinesis (2018)

This movie is the first Korean superhero film. It is also director Yeon Sang-ho’s second live-action film after his live-action debut Train to Busan (2016).

It revolves around a bank security guard who gains telekinetic superpowers after drinking water from a mountain spring affected by a meteor.

Shin Seok-heon (Ryu Seung-ryong) then decides to use them for saving his estranged daughter and her neighbourhood from an evil construction company.

Many critics praised this movie saying it is one of the finest superhero movies of the decade.

Thrillist writer Karen Han stated, “The only pity is that Psychokinesis isn’t receiving a theatrical release outside of South Korea. Despite being about an ultimately mundane conflict, it’s filmed with the same energy and grand sense of scales as any recent blockbuster. Maybe it’s a little silly, but all superhero films are. Yeon is just the rare breed of director who knows how to turn that kind of genre stamp to his advantage.”

Watch the trailer here.

8.A Werewolf Boy (2012)

A mother moves with her daughters Sun-yi (Park Bo-young) and Sun-ja (Kim Hyang-gi) to a large home in the countryside.

They moved there under the advisement of her doctor as Sun-yi suffers from a lung ailment.

The home is provided by Ji-Tae (Yoo Yeon-Seok), the son of a business partner who worked with their deceased father.

While the family gets acclimated to their new surroundings, Sun-yi finds that a wild boy (Song Joong-ki) lives within a locked room in the barn.

At first, the family takes him in believing he is just an orphan with little social skills. Not everything in life appears like it seems, so is the boy hiding a secret?

The movie had its world premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema Section of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Besides that, it was screened at the 17th Busan International Film Festival that year.

This movie is one of the most successful Korean melodrama movies of all time.

Korean fantasy movies 2
A Werewolf Boy is definitely one of the must-watch Korean fantasy movies of all-time. Credits: Youtube

Watch the trailer here.

9.Heaven’s Postman (2009)

If you could write a letter to your loved one in heaven, what would you say?

Kim Jae-joong plays as Shin Jae-joon who used to be a promising young CEO of an IT company.

One day, he unexpectedly becomes a postman. His work? To deliver the letters grieving people have written to their loved ones in Heaven.

Eventually, Jae-joon comes across Hana, who writes a letter full of resentment to the dead man that she used to love.

So he proposes that Hana delivers responses which come back from Heaven. Then they both think up various ways to give peace and happiness to those who are alive and left behind, sometimes by writing the responses themselves.

It is a story of love and acceptance as well as finding closure in the sorrowful experiences of life.

10.Along with the Gods series

Along with the Gods movies series are definitely on our list of must-watch Korean fantasy movies.

This action film is directed by Kim Yong-hwa and based on a webtoon by Joo Ho-min.

It stars Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyang-gi. The film was shot as one but presented in two parts.

The first part, Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds, was released on Dec 20, 2017.

In the meantime, the sequel,titled Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days, was released on Aug 1, 2018.

The third and fourth installment is currently in development with Kim Yong-hwa returning to direct the sequels.

As for the plot, the first movie follows a firefighter navigates the afterlife with the help of three grim reapers.

Meanwhile, the second film circles around the three grim reapers guiding their 49th soul. After guiding their 49th soul, only then they could gain reincarnation.

Overall, the storytelling, CGI, and especially the acting for both movies are all terrific. The second film broke the opening day record in South Korea with more than 1.2 million viewers on the first day of its release.

Watch the trailer here.

Korean fantasy movies
The third and fourth of Along with The Gods are another two must-watch Korean fantasy movies. Credits: Youtube.

Do you have any favourite Korean fantasy movies? Let us know in the comment box.

Janghwa Hongryeon jeon, the legend behind A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

When it comes to Korean horror films, one of our favourites is none other than A Tale of Two Sisters (2003).

This psychological drama movie was written and directed by Kim Jee-won.

He is credited for writing and directing other remarkable movies such as A Bittersweet Life (2005) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008).

Jee-won also directed I Saw the Devil (2010), a thriller film about a National Intelligence Service agent who seeks revenge when his fiancee is brutally murdered by a psychopathic serial killer.

Regardless of the genre, this prolific director is known for twists and thrills in his movies.

A Tale of Two Sisters for instance is famous for the twist in its ending. The movie was inspired by a folktale from the Joseon era (1392-1897) called Janghwa Hongryeon jeon (The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon).

Janghwa Hongryeon jeon
Moon Geun-young (left) as Bae Su-yeon and Im Soo-jung (right) as Bae Su-mi in the movie A Tale Of Two Sisters.
Here is the Legend of Janghwa Hongryeon jeon which inspired A Tale of Two Sisters:

Once upon a time, there was a couple who had two daughters – Janghwa (Red Flower) and Hongryeon (Red Lotus).

Unfortunately, the mother died and the father then remarried. In a classic Cinderella story, the stepmother turns out to be an evil woman who was abusive towards her stepdaughters.

However, the two sisters never told their father about it. The stepmother and the father had three sons of their own.

Years passed and when Janghwa got engaged, the father asked his second wife to help with the wedding ceremony. Unwilling to spend a penny on Janghwa, she came up with an evil plan.

One night when Janghwa was sleeping, the stepmother had her eldest son put a dead skinned rat in Janghwa’s bed.

She brought the father to Janghwa’s room the next morning, telling him she had a bad dream about her elder stepdaughter.

When she pulled back the covers on Janghwa’s bed, the father saw the skinned rat, but was convinced by the evil stepmother that it was a bloody fetus. Immediately, the father believed his wife and that Janghwa had a child out-of-wedlock.

Feeling wronged, Janghwa ran out of her house to a pond in the nearby forest. The stepmother ordered her eldest son to follow Janghwa, who later pushed her into the pond.

She died by drowning, but the villagers believed she committed suicide out of shame.

Unable to bear the abuse by her stepmother, Hongryeon soon committed suicide in the same pond where Janghwa had drowned.

The Curse of Janghwa Hongryeon jeon

After the death of the two sisters, whenever a new mayor came to the village, he was found dead a day after his arrival.

Finally, a young man came to the village as the new mayor. When night came, he saw the ghosts of the two young women.

The young mayor gathered up his courage and asked them if they were the reason the previous mayors were found dead.

The ghosts explained that all they wanted for the villagers to know the truth; that Janghwa had been framed by her stepmother and murdered by her eldest half-brother.

When the young mayor asked them for evidence, Janghwa then told him to examine the so-called miscarried fetus that the stepmother had shown to the villagers.

Morning came, and the mayor revealed the truth to everyone after examining the ‘fetus’.

He then sentenced the stepmother and her eldest son to death for their crime. A couple years later, the father married again.

In a dream you don’t expect on your wedding night, the two daughters visited their father in a dream, telling him that they wanted to come back to him.

Nine months later, the father’s third wife delivered a pair of twin girls whom he named Janghwa and Hongryeon.

The Movie: A Tale of Two Sisters (2009)

As for the plot of A Tale of Two Sisters, it focuses on a teenage girl Sumi (played by Im Soo-jung) who is just released from a mental institution.

She settles in with her father (Kim Kap-soo), younger sister Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young) and stepmother Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah).

Strange things start to happen surrounding Sumi, but are they real or just part of her imagination?

This psychological horror drama film became the first Korean film to be screened in American theatres.

However, the American remake of this film titled The Uninvited (2009) did not receive positive reviews as the original movie did.

What to know about the real story behind Korean movie Silenced (2011)

Starring Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi, Silenced or Dogani is a 2011 South Korean drama film.

The plot is based on real-life events of young deaf students sexually assaulted by faculty members for over five years in the early 2000s.

Here what you need to know about the real story behind Silenced (2011):

1.The movie was inspired by Gong Ji-young’s novel The Crucible

The title of the novel is taken from Arthur Miller’s play of the same name which was based on the real-life events leading to the witch trials of Salem in 1692.

In order to write the story, Ji-young visited the school more than 10 times. She also interviewed those connected with the case, including the victims.

2.How the sex abuse came to light

Gwangju Inhwa School was first established on Apr 17, 1961. Initially, it was founded as the Jeonnam Deaf-Mute Welfare Centre before becoming a junior high school.

Then in 1993, they opened the senior high school section.

Just like in Silenced, a teacher came out to report on the sexual abuse. In 2005, the newly appointed teacher alerted human rights groups. He disclosed that the headmaster had raped a girl in his office while an administrative officer groped a 22-year-old student.

Overall, six teachers were accused as nine victims came forward. Even though the number of victims were believed to be higher, most victims refused to testify out of fear.

The maddening part was that half of the accused were freed immediately because their cases’ statutes of limitation had expired.

At first, the court sentenced the headmaster, the son of the school founder to a five-year term in prison. But the court later reduced the sentence for the headmaster, giving him probation and a 3 million won fine. The rest also received reduced sentences.

The worst thing after the trial was that the victims were ousted from the school. Meanwhile, the school kept 22 students while receiving 1.8 billion won in state subsidies annually.

Some of the teachers who were accused of the sex crimes even returned to the school to teach.

The teacher who complained about the abuse was subsequently fired from his job.

3.The school is also accused of starving their students to death.

While the school was accused of sex crimes since early 2000s, the crime against students reportedly goes back as early as 1964.

A former teacher came forward claiming two students were abused to death and buried them secretly.

According to Kim Yeong-il, the first case took place in October 1964. The vice principal reportedly starved a seven-year-old orphan boy and later beat him to death.

Together with a teacher, the vice principal buried him on a mountain about 7 kilometers from the school.

Six months later, another child died. Kim alleged that the 6-year-old was also starved by the teachers there. The poor starved girl even resorted to eating wallpaper. She was then killed by a caretaker who threw her off a building.

Kim reported both cases to the police in the 1960s but since there were no dead bodies, there were no cases against the school. After he reported the cases, the vice principal and principal (both brothers!!!) locked Kim up and beat him.

Other alumni claimed the son of the school’s board of directors forced two female students to undress and drew nude paintings of them in 1975.

4.The school where the crimes took place is now closed.

Two months after Silenced came out on cinema, Gwangju City officially closed the school in November 2011.

At the time of closure, 22 students were attending the school, 57 stayed at the dorm while 55 received training. All of the students were then transferred out to other schools.

Silenced (2011) caused an uproar among the Korean public and eventually put pressure on politicians.

In October 2011, the South Korean parliament passed the Dogani Bill which eliminated the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children under 13 and disabled women.

Additionally, the bill increased the maximum penalty to life in prison.

Silenced Movie
The screenshot of Silenced’s trailer from Youtube.

5.Ji-young was a student activist in the 1980s and her past has inspired her writings.

In the novel, Ji-young portrays the male protagonist as someone who gives up his fight for justice and returns to his hometown in Seoul.

Ji-young’s past as a student activist during the 1980s inspired most of her writing style. She told The Korea Times in 2009 that if she wrote the novel at a younger age, she might have portrayed the male protagonist as a betrayer.

Since she was writing the book in her 40s, she portrayed him as a tortured human being.

In her home country, Ji-young was given a lot of ‘attention’ by the Korean press, and it wasnot for her writing.

Her personal life – she has been married three times and her children have different fathers – was apparently more shocking than the issues she highlighted in her works.

Ji-young’s other notable work is Our Happy Time in which she addressed the issue of capital punishment. The novel was adapted into the film Maundy Thursday.

Watch the trailer here.

#KajoPicks: 5 movies inspired by the Gwangju Uprising you should watch

In 1980, South Korean president Chun Do-hwan’s military rule led to a confrontation in a city of Gwangju, the southern region of South Korea. The confrontation would later be known as the Gwangju Uprising, May 18 Gwangju Democratisation Movement or May 18 Democratic Uprising by UNESCO.

From May 18 to 27, 1980, Gwangju residents took up arms by robbing local armories and police stations.

The uprising started when local Chonnam University students started to demonstrate against the government’s martial law.

About 200 students gathered at the the gate of the university and were opposed by 30 paratroopers on the morning of May 18.

By evening, the government dispatched 686 soldiers to the scene as the conflict broadened to more than 2,000 protesters.

Witnesses reported the soldiers attacked both protesters and onlookers.

As the conflict escalated, the army started to fire on civilians, killing an unaccounted number on May 20.

The protesters then began to seize weapons from police stations and armories, then attacking the army.

By May 21, the soldiers left and citizens took over the city. On May 26, the army returned to retake the city. After less than two hours of operations, the army arrested 1,740 rioters.

Like many riots or protests around the world, there is no universally accepted number of the death toll during the Gwangju Uprising.

The official figures stand at 144 civilians, 22 troops and four policeman killed. However based on foreign press, the actual death toll could be up to 2,000.

After South Korean President Moon Jae-in took over office in May 2017, he vowed to investigate the government’s role during the Gwangju Uprising.

Later it was revealed for the first time that the army had used a helicopter to fire on civilians.

In 2018, the South Korean government formally apologised for the rape of women by troops during the Gwangju Uprising.

A formal investigation by the government confirmed there were 17 cases of sexual assault, including against teenagers and a pregnant woman.

The Gwangju Uprising definitely left a dark mark in South Korean history. According to Korea Resource Center, it ignited the floundering pro-democracy movement in Korea culminating in 1987 when the People’s Power movement finally broke the power of the South Korean military.

With a number of references and portrayal in popular culture, South Korea’s younger generation will not forget this piece of their history.

So here are KajoMag’s picks of five movies to watch inspired by the Gwangju Uprising:
1.26 Years (2012)

This movie is a fictional story circling around five ordinary people from different backgrounds who come together to kill the person behind the massacre during Gwangju Uprising.

26 years after the massacre in 2006, a sports shooter, a gangster, a policeman, a businessman and head of private security firm plot revenge against the man responsible.

Former president Chun Doo-hwan is believed to given the order to fire on civilians but he is not explicitly named in the movie.

However, the target clearly is referring to Chun.

The main three characters are Kwak Jin-bae (Jin Goo), a gangster who lost his father during the uprising, Shim Mi-jin (Han Hye-jin) a national team shooter and policeman Kwon Jung-kyuk (Im Seul-ong) who lost his family.

2.Peppermint Candy (1999)

After watching this movie, you will never forget the iconic opening scene when the main character Yong-ho faces an oncoming train, screaming “I want to go back again!”

As the movie starts with the suicide of Yong-ho, the story unfolds through flashbacks some of the important events over the past 20 years leading to his death.

Every event in his life coincides with some of the major incidents in South Korean history, including the Gwangju Uprising.

During his flashback to the uprising, Yong-ho is seen performing his mandatory military service. This is when he accidentally shoots and kills a student protester.

It also shows how he becomes traumatised by the shooting incident and later becomes a more brutal and cynical policeman.

Likewise, Yong-ho ends up losing his job in the 1990s, mirroring the real-life impact of the Asian financial crisis.

The movie explores different themes, including how it killed the innocence of those who pulled the triggers during the uprising.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Fork Lane (2017)
Fork Lane 2017

Similar to Peppermint Candy, Fork Lane (2017) follows the story of a soldier trying to cope with his life after Gwangju Uprising.

It tells the story of Kim Gang-il (Uhm Tae-woong), a paratrooper who was sent to suppress the protesters during the demonstration.

After his retirement, he works as a forklift driver. Eventually, he starts to uncover the truth from his past.

4.May 18 (2007)
May 18 film

Most of the protesters during the Gwangju Uprising were not part of the initial protest in front of the university but were acting in retaliation after their loved ones were attacked by the soldiers.

The main character, Min-woo (Kim Sang-kyung) leads a peaceful life with his younger brother Jin-woo (Lee Joon-gi) until the uprising happens.

Angry that his classmate is beaten to death by the military while they are not even college students, Jin-woo leads his friends into the streets to protest.

Meanwhile, Min-woo wants to stop his brother from taking part in the uprising.

This movie shows how the first attack on civilians on May 18 triggers other unassuming citizens to fight for what is right.

5.A Taxi Driver (2017)

While other movies inspired by the Gwangju Uprising are fictional, here is a movie that might be closest to the real event.

The story follows a taxi driver Man-seon (Song Kang-ho) who receives an offer to drive a foreign journalist from Seoul to Gwangju during the uprising.

The character is loosely based on real-life taxi driver Kim Sa-bok whose existence remained out of the public eye until the release of A Taxi Driver. He died of cancer in 1984, four years after the Gwangju events.

Meanwhile, the journalist Peter (Thomas Kretschmann) is based on the life Jurgen Hinzpeter (1937-2016) who filmed and reported on the Gwangju Uprising.

His widow, Edeltraut Brahmstaedt watched the movie with President Moon in 2017. The Blue House later released a statement saying, “The movie shows how a foreign reporter’s efforts contributed to Korea’s democratization, and President Moon saw the film to honor Hinzpeter in respect for what he did for the country.”

The film turned out to be a commercial success and was the second highest grossing film of 2017.

Watch the trailer here.

8 must-watch movies inspired by the Korean Independence Movement

The Korean Independence Movement was a military and diplomatic campaign to achieve the independence of Korea from Japan.

One of the earliest public displays of the resistance took place on March 1, 1919, widely known as The March 1st Movement.

On that day, 33 activists gathered to read out loud the Korean Declaration of Independence. The event subsequently brought together 2 million Koreans, participating in more than 1,500 demonstrations at various locations.

Historians believe The March 1st Movement provided a catalyst for the Korean Independence Movement.

Many Korean independence activists were executed during the resistance. It was only until the end of World War II that the Koreans gained their independence from the Japanese.

Known as Gwangbokjeol (literally translated as “the day the light returned”), the National Liberation Day of Korea is a public holiday celebrated annually on August 15.

It is notable, as it is the only Korean public holiday celebrated by both North and South Korea.

In North Korea, the day is known as Chogukhaebangui nal or “Liberation of the Fatherland Day”.

Over the years, South Korean movie makers have turned to Korean independence movement for inspiration.

Though they are not 100 per cent historically correct, the movies still manage to educate the younger generations about their history as well as to commemorate the sacrifices made by those before them.

For history buffs out there, here are 8 must-watch movies based on the Korean Independence Movement:
1.The Age of Shadows (2016)

Set in the late 1920s, this movie follows a group of Korean Independence Movement members trying to bring explosives into Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul.

The key resistance figure is Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo) who uses his antique shop as a front to smuggle these explosives.

Meanwhile, Korean police captain Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-ho) has been charged by the residing Japanese government with rooting out resistance members as he is known to sell out his own people to gain favour from the Japanese.

After Jung-chool’s former classmate Kim Jang-ok (Park Hee-soon) who is also a resistance fighter dies, he begins to doubts his loyalty to the Japanese.

So a cat and mouse game begins between the resistance fighters and the Japanese agents who are out to get them.

Watch the trailer here.

Korean Independence movement
Gong Yoo as a resistance figher in The Age of Shadows. Credits: Youtube
2.Assassination (2015)

After The March 1st Movement, many Korean resistance fighters were forced into exile in China.

This movie is set in the year 1933. It was when the resistance fighters in China were trying to organise a fight from .

They find that the highest commander of the Japanese army is going to visit Korea. Hence, they plot an assassination attempt.

However, the only sniper capable to do the job is Ahn Ok-yun (Jun Ji-hyun). She is serving her time in Shanghai prison.

Resistance fighter Yem Sek-jin (Lee Jung-jae) is assigned to rescue her from the prison. Little that the rest of the resistance members know that Sek-jin is a mole who secretly reporting to the Japanese.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The Battle: Roar to Victory (2019)

From June 6 to 7, 1920, a confrontation occurred between a Korean independence militia of 1,300 under the command of Hong Beom-do and a Japanese battalion consisting of 500 troops.

The fight is known as the Battle of Fengwudong or Battle of Bongo-dong.

Inspired by this event, the movie centers around resistance fighter Hwang Hae-cheol (Yoo Hae-jin) and his subordinate Byeong-gu (Jo Woo-jin).

Their main operation is to deliver funds to the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai.

During this operation, they reunite with Jang-ha (Rye Jun-yeoul) who has a secret mission.

Jang-ha has been assigned to bait the Japanese forces into Bongo-dong mountains where the battle eventually takes place.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Dongju, the Portrait of Poet (2016)

This film biopic is based on Yun Dong-ju. He was a Korean poet, imprisoned by the Japanese for his involvement in Korean Independence Movement.

Throughout his life, he wrote lyric and resistance poetry. He even chose 19 poems to publish in a collection called “Sky, Wind, Star and Poem”.

However, he was arrested as a communist supporter in 1943 and detained in Kyoto.

The following year, he was sentenced to two years in prison for having participated in the Korean Independence Movement.

Unfortunately, Dong-ju died in imprisonment in February 1945.

His poems were published posthumously and later known as resistance poems of the late occupation period.

In the movie, Kang Ha-neul gives one of his most impressive performances yet as the late poet.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Anarchist from the Colony (2017)

Park Yeol is a self-proclaimed anarchist and revolutionary activist during the Japanese occupation of Korea.

He attended high school in Seoul. However, he was forced to leave in 1919 due to his suspected participation in the March 1st Movement.

Later, he was convicted of high treason in Japan for conspiring an attack against Crown Prince Hirohito.

In the movie, he is portrayed by Lee Je-hoon while his girlfriend Fumiko Kaneko is portrayed by Choi Hee-seo.

Watch the trailer here.

6.A Resistance (2019)

One of the key figures in the March 1st Movement was a woman named Ryu Gwan-sun (also known as Yu Gwansun).

She was the organiser for the peaceful protest in the province of South Chungcheong.

Together with her family, Gwan-sun went door-to-door to encourage the public to join in the Korean Independence Movement.

She was subsequently arrested while her parents were killed by the Japanese military police.

Unfortunately, Gwan-sun died on Sept 28, 1920 from injuries she suffered from torture by the Japanese prison officers.

The movie follows the story of Gwan-sun (Go Ah-sung) as she fights for Korean independence even while in prison.

Watch the trailer here.

7.MalMoE: The Secret Mission (2019)

When Korea was under Japanese rule, the Korean language was banned in 1938 in favour of the Japanese language.

The movie centers around the real-life members of Korean Language Society who are secretly trying to publish a Korean language dictionary.

Founded in 1908 by Ju Si-gyeong, the society is a hangul and Korean language research group.

In 1942, more than 30 of their members were arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese and two later died in prison.

It stars Yoo Hae-jin as Kim Pan-soo. He is an illiterate who meets representatives of the Korean Language Society. Later, he joins the secret mission to publish the dictionary.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Spirit’s Homecoming (2016)

While this is not exactly a movie based on Korean Independence Movement, it is a film that shines light on the dark side of a Japanese occupied country.

Korean director Cho Jung-rae was so inspired by a painting by Kang Il-chul, he made this movie, dedicating it to all Comfort Women.

Ill-chul was a Comfort Woman, who was abused and forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers especially during World War II.

Set in 1943, the story focuses on Jung-min (Kang Ha-na) who is separated from her family by Japanese soldiers. They were shipped off in wagons for livestock to Manchuria and used as Comfort Women.

Together with Young-hee (Son Sook) and other girls in the brothel, they try to cope with their situations while plotting their escape.

The second part of the movie is how Young-hee lives as an elderly woman who is trying to make peace with her dark past.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 3 films based on the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong

When it comes to Thai folktales, one of the most famous stories is about the spirit of Nak, or Mae Nak Phra Khanong, which means Lady Nak of Phra Khanong.

Even after death, Nak tries to hold her family together. While her intention comes out of love and family loyalty, the villagers around her deem it unacceptable. You’re supposed to stay dead once you die, right?

About the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong

So the story goes that there was a beautiful young woman named Nak. Together with her husband Mak, they lived on the banks of Phra Khanong Canal.

Their blissful marriage was interrupted when Mak was called to war while Nak was pregnant.

During the war, Mak got himself wounded. As he was recovering in Bangkok, Nak and their child both died during childbirth.

When Mak returned home, however, he found his wife and child happily waiting for him.

In the meantime, the neighbours tried to warn Mak that he was living with a ghost. Eventually, those who tried to warn him turned up dead.

One day, as Nak was preparing a Thai spicy chilli sauce called nam phrik, one of the limes rolled away and dropped off the porch.

As she reached for it, Mak watched in disbelief as her arm grew and stretched to an unnatural length, opening Mak’s eyes to what she really was – a ghost.

Horrified, Mak left his ghost-wife.

After this are different accounts of what happened. But fundamentally, Nak ran amok, terrorising the villagers whom she believed caused her husband to leave her.

Regardless of how scary Nak could be, the thought of trying to live among the living due to the undying love for her husband has been romantized many times in popular culture.

Here are KajoMag’s picks of horror films based on the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong:
1.Nang Nak (1999)

This Thai horror classic is perhaps what made international fans take notice of the Thai movie industry. Additionally, it was the first Thai film to earn 100 million baht at the box office.

In this version of Mae Nak Phra Khanong, Mak was sent to fight in the real-life Siamese-Vietnamese War (1831-1834).

The movie also featured another real-life feature; a famous Buddhist monk named Somdet To (1788-1872).

In Nang Nak, the monk comes to exorcise Nak so that her soul can move on into the after-life.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Ghost of Mae Nak (2005)

Inspired by the legend Mae Nak Phra Khanong, this movie is set in modern Bangkok where the life of groom Mak is disturbed by a ghost woman named Mae Nak.

After protecting Mak and his fiancee Nak from a misfortune, Mae Nak now holds the soul of Mak.

Nak on the other hand, Is trying to release her fiance from the grip of Mae Nak.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Pee Mak (2013)

Instead of melodrama, Pee Mak (2013) took on a comedic angle of the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong.

This move worked out for the movie maker because it is currently Thailand’s highest grossing film of all time.

The story starts just like the legend with Mak not realizing that he is living with the ghost of his dead wife.

Mak’s four friends however know that Nak is a ghost and go to lengthy ways to tell him, even using a game of charades.

Since it is a horror-comedy film, expect an unconventional ending when watching Pee Mak (2013).

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 8 South Korean period action films to watch

Here are 8 Kajo-approved South Korean period action films to watch:

1.The Great Battle (2018)

The Siege of Ansi was a battle between Goguryeo (an ancient Korean kingdom) and Tang forces in Ansi.

Ansi was a fortress on the Liaodong Peninsular in present-day Northeast China.

Lasting from June 20, 645 to Sept 18, 645, the Siege of Ansi was one of the biggest battles of the first campaign in the Goguryeo-Tang war.

The star of the battle was Yang Manchun, a Goguryeo commander of the Ansi Fortress.

In this Korean period action film, heart-throb Jo In-sung plays Yang Manchun, which will make you wonder if the historical figure could have really been that good looking.

Of course, critics were quick to criticise this particular casting as it was highly unlikely that Yang Manchun was in his mid 30s.

Nonetheless, The Great Battle was able to pull through, becoming one of the highest box office films of South Korea in 2018.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Warriors of the Dawn (2017)

What do you as a king when a foreign country tries to invade your kingdom? You flee the country, leaving your young son to take over, of course!

That was what King Seonjo, the 14th king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea did when Japanese forces came knocking on his kingdom’s door.

He escaped to seek refuge from the Ming Empire, abandoning his people and leaving crown prince Gwanghae in-charge.

This Korean period action film follows the story of a group of mercenaries tasked to protect the reluctant Prince Gwanghae during the 1592 Imjin War.

Played by Yeo Jin-goo, the prince then leads the royal court to fight their enemies with the help of To-woo (Lee Jung-jae).

Growing up as a child actor, Jin-goo has proven over and over again that he has just gotten better in acting as he pursued a more adult role in this movie.

However, his acting is still somehow overshadowed by Jung-jae who is known for his charisma and chameleon’s ability as an actor.

Watch the trailer here.

3.War of the Arrows (2011)

How often does a period action film makes the top grossing films in any country? Honestly, it is a rare thing to happen especially in Hollywood over the last few years whereby most of the highest grossing films have been from the Marvel franchise.

This movie was the highest grossing Korean film of 2011, drawing an audience of 7.48 million.

It is set after the Second Manchu Invasion of Korea about an archer who risks his life to save his sister from slavery under Qing’s Prince Dorgon.

While the other characters such as the archer Nam-yi (Park Hae-il) and his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) are fictional, Prince Dorgon or Rui was a real historical figure.

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Admiral, Roaring Currents (2014)

If it is a battle between 12 ships and an invading fleet numbering 333 vessels, the showdown must be epic.

This period action film revolves around the Battle of Myeongnyang, an event which took place on Oct 26, 1597 near Jindo Island, southwest of the Korean peninsula.

One of South Korea’s prominent actors, Choi Min-sik (I Saw the Devil, Lucy) plays the legendary naval commander Yi Sun-sin who led a heroic victory against the Japanese during the battle.

Instead of recruiting Japanese actors, Korean talents such as Ryu Seung-ryong, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Myung-gon took the role of Japanese historical figures Kurushima Michifusa, Wakisaka Yasuharu and Todo Takatora respectively.

With 10 million admissions only 12 days after its premiere, the movie sets a record for achieving the highest number of viewers in the shortest amount of time in South Korea.

Watch the trailer here.

5.The Fortress (2017)

After reading about King Injo of Joseon (16th king of the Joseon dynasty), most people would think him weak and indecisive.

Well, he did cause the depletion of his country’s economy and two wars with the Manchus during his reign.

This Korean period action film lets the audience into the mind of King Injo; what happened during the Second Manchu invasion of Korea in 1636 when he sought refuge in Namhansanseong fortress.

Portrayed by Park Hae-il, King Injo needs to decide whether to bend his knee to the Qing dynasty or not.

On his side is Choi Myeong-gil (Lee Byung-hun), a scholar and politician who advise the King to make the crucial decision.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014)

Starring Ha Jung-woo and Gang Dong-won, this Korean period action film sets in mid-19th century Joseon.

It is about a power struggle between the unjust wealthy who run the society and a group of what would stand for the Korean version of Robin Hood and his merry men.

This band of fighters named Kundo decide to steal from corrupt officials and then share their loot with the poor.

Kundi: Age of the Rampant has everything a Korean period action film can offer; a hero who rises from the lowest point of his life, a villain who clearly deserves to die from the beginning and tonnes of sword fighting and archery scenes.

Besides this, Jung-woo who plays the role of a former butcher who joins Kundo to avenge the death of his family is almost unrecognisable, largely because he is rocking a clean-shaved head in the movie.

Watch the trailer here.

7.The Age of Blood (2017)

Speaking of sword-fighting, here is a Korean period action film that gives you high adrenalin sword-fighting scenes.

Can you imagine slashing your opponents with your feet holding a sword while both of your hands are tied up in the air?

The Age of Blood (2017) follows the story of Kim Ho (Jung Hae-in) who is suddenly demoted to a lowly prison guard after he lost a battle.

Suddenly on his first day on the job, he finds five top fighters from the rebel group have to sneak into the jail to break out their captured leader.

Well, not a smart idea for the rebels because Kim Ho just had a career change from a swordsman for the king.

Watch the trailer here.

8.The Showdown (2011)
220px TheShowdown2011Poster

Here is another Korean action period film based on the Manchus invasion of Joseon.

As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the Joseon soldiers decide to help Ming China fight against the Manchus.

In the middle of Manchuria, the Joseon soldiers who barely survived the battle are now cornered by the Manchu forces.

Now, they have to fight a bloody battle for the survival.

The movie starring Park Hee-soon, JJin-Goo and Ko Chang-seok.

15 travel horror movies to make you think twice before travelling

Travel horror movies are one of those films which answers your question, “What could go worse on this trip?”

Well, these movies then push the boundaries of your imagination: there are serial killers, mad scientists, criminals, mysterious diseases, zombies waiting to ruin everyone’s vacation.

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Grab some popcorn and a pillow to cover your eyes during horrifying scenes in these travel horror movies. Credit: Pixabay.
So here are 15 travel horror movies make you think twice before going on your vacation (or maybe about what to pack):
1.Hostel (2005)

What could be the worst thing that could happen when travelling across Europe? How about being preyed on by a mysterious organisation that tortures and kills kidnapped tourists?

Not for the faint-hearted, this travel horror flick there are a lot of torture scenes and severed bodies.

These are the last few things you could expect when checking into a hostel. Hostel later went on to become part of a trilogy.

2.The Human Centipede (2009)

Here is another movie not for the faint-hearted. A German surgeon kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a human centipede. The movie premise is so disgusting, yet apparently there are no scenes of excrement and it went on to win several international accolades in the horror movie genre. This film also had sequels made, but the final in the sequence was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Awards.

3.Cabin Fever (2002)

When director Eli Roth (who also directed Hostel) went to Iceland for a trip, he got infected with a skin infection. Inspired by his experience, Roth co-wrote and directed this travel horror comedy film.

It is about a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and get infected by a flesh-eating virus. (Yes, it is a far leap from a skin infection.)

4.Eden Lake (2008)

When a couple choose a remote lake in the English countryside for a break, it means they clearly need a break from everything.

Their vacation is interrupted as a group of teenage delinquents target the couple, first stealing their belongings and then terrorizing and torturing them throughout the movie.

5.Frozen (2010)

Which one is scarier? Being stuck out in the snow as you freeze to death or being stuck in the air where you cannot come down?

How about a situation combining both? The movie follows a trio of skier and snowboarders stranded on a chairlift near the top of the mountain at a ski resort. Now, they have a choice of having to leave the chairlift or freeze to death.

6.The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Here is another slasher film on the list and it stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison.

It is about a group of college students going for a retreat to a remote forest cabin. No, there is no serial killer in this movie… just some crazy scientists, zombies and werewolves.

7.Afflicted (2013)

The found footage concept may not be for everyone; sometimes it is too dizzying and eventually, annoying to watch.

This concept however, is suitable for this travel horror flick as it follows a pair of childhood friends travelling the world while filming a web series.

Their adventure gets cut short when they catch a disease during their stop in Barcelona.

8.A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

Be careful if you rescue a girl in the wilderness during your climbing trip. That girl could be: a) a ghost, or b) a kidnapping victim whose kidnappers are out to kill you after you rescue her.

A Lonely Place to Die (2011) is about a group of mountaineers who discover a girl buried alive in a small chamber in the forest of the Scottish Highlands.

9.The Hills Have Eyes (2016)

When someone tells you there is a shortcut you can take during your road trip, do not take their advice; it will be a trap.

There could be a serial killer or a blood-thirsty bear lurking along the so-called shortcut.

In this travel horror movie, there is a group of cannibalistic mutants targeting a family whose car breaks down after taking a ‘shortcut’.

10.The Shallows (2016)

Surfing is a fun thing to do when you do some solo travelling. But it is not so fun when you get stranded 180m from shore and there is a white shark waiting to have a piece of you.

The story follows medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) who travels to a secluded beach in Baja California following the death of her mother.

Although it’s not likely that you will be stalked by a vengeful great white shark, it reminds yourself to prepare for all contingencies when you solo-travel, especially to a secluded beach.

11.The Last House on the Left (2009)

When a group of men who rape and almost kill your daughter take refuge at your vacation home, what do you do? You turn the place into a murder scene as you exact your revenge.

And what makes a good murder weapon other than the microwave which you used to make your family’s dinner?

This is a story of how a normal family could be driven into doing something evil when you cross them.

12.Turistas (2006)

It stars familiar names like Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Olivia Wilde. This travel horror story turns ugly when a group of international backpackers in Brazil find themselves caught in an underground organ harvesting ring.

The twist is that the victims in the movie find that their organs are used for the poor.

13.The Ruins (2007)

What if your trouble during vacation comes not in the form of a human but in a form of a murderous plant instead?

The Ruins follows two young American couples enjoying their vacation in Mexico. When they visit a Mayan temple, they find themselves at the mercy of a vine that moves around and kills people.

14.Wolf Creek (2005)

This Australian travel horror thriller film takes you to the Wolf Creek National Park in Western Australia.

There, a serial killer lurks, waiting to abduct and kill tourists while taking their possessions as trophies.

The movie actually inspired by real-life The Backpacker Murders. It is a series of murders which took place in New South Wales between 1989 and 1993.

Authorities eventually arrested and charged Ivan Milat for killing seven backpackers including three German and two British nationals.

15.The Strangers (2008)

One of the worst things could happen to anyone is a random act of violence. There is no cause or closure or even obvious cure for these kind of cases.

The Strangers (2008) opens the viewers’ minds that death or crime could happen to anyone at random time or place.

It follows Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) whose stay at a vacation home is disrupted by three masked criminals who break into thee house.

Do you have any other 15 travel horror movies you would like to suggest? Let us know in the comment box.

KajoPicks: 10 South Korean spy films about North Korean espionage

When it comes to the spy film genre, the most famous movies are none other than the James Bond series.

While Hollywood took on a more fictional, imaginative angle of espionage activities, South Korean filmmakers turned to their northern neighbour for inspiration.

A handful of dramas and movies based on North Korean espionage came out over the years, and some of them were inspired by the real deal.

So here are KajoMag’s 10 South Korean spy films about North Korean espionage to watch:
1.Spy Gone North (2018)

Loosely based on the true story of South Korean spy, Park Chae-seo, this movie stars Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min and Cho Jin-woong.

Jung-min plays the role of Park Seok-young, an agent recruited by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to infiltrate the highest ranks in North Korea.

He is given the code name ‘Black Venus’. His mission is to travel to Beijing disguised as a salesman and establish a business connection with high ranking North Korean official Ri Myung-un (Lee Sung-min).

Instead of expecting action and guns like most spy films, Spy Gone North (2018) is more of a slow-burn political drama.

Watch the trailer here.

2.The Berlin File (2013)

If you are looking for more action and thrill for your dose of South Korean spy films, watch The Berlin File (2013).

Talented Korean actor Ha Jung-woo stars as North Korean agent Pyo Jong-sung in Berlin who is betrayed and cut loose when a weapons deal goes wrong.

While trying to escape from Berlin, South Korean agent Jung Jin-soo (Han Suk-kyu) and North Korean agent Dong Myung-soo (Ryoo Seung-bum) are also hot on his trail.

The director Ryoo Seung-wan wanted the movie to be reminiscent of The Bourne Identity. So you can imagine it to be fast-paced with intense characters build-up for the secret agents.

3.Commitment (2013)

After his father’s failed espionage mission, North Korean Myung-hoon (Big Bang’s TOP) and his younger sister Hye-in (Kim Yoo-jung) are sent to a labor prison camp.

To save his sister, Myung-hoon volunteers to become a spy and infiltrates the South to finish what his father failed to do.

Arriving in South Korea, he poses as a North Korean defector and enrolls at a local high school.

Things get tricky when both North and South Korean governments are out to get him.

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Suspect (2013)

The selling point for us to watch this film is the fact that Gong Yoo is playing the role of a spy.

His character Ji Dong-chul is one of the top special forces agent in North Korea until he is abandoned by his own government.

This South Korean spy film is another revenge movie as Dong-chul finds out his wife and daughter are killed.

He defects to the South where he is framed for a murder by the South Korean intelligence service.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Secretly, Greatly (2013)

Secretly, Greatly (2013) is a South Korean spy film that starts light and funny and then intense and emotional halfway through the movie.

It stars Kim Soo-hyun, Park Ki-woong, and Lee Hyun-woo who play North Korean spies infiltrating South Korea as a village idiot, a rock musician and a high school student respectively.

What are the odds of three North Korean spies living in the same neighbourhood anyway?

They start to get comfortable with their lives in the South until a mission comes ordering them to commit suicide.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Operation Chromite (2016)

Liam Neeson in a South Korean spy film? Sign us up for this movie. Based on the real-life events of the Battle of Inchon, Neeson takes up the role of General Douglas MacArthur who devises a secret plan to attack behind enemy lines at Inchon.

The movie sets in 1950, few months after North Korean forces have invaded most of South Korea.

Then, an American-led UN coalition is sent to Korea to help the South Koreans.

But before any making any move, MacArthur plans a top secret South Korean intelligence operation. Operation Chromite presents a fictionalised version of the real operation in which the spies gather essential information from within occupied Inchon.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Secret Reunion (2010)

Imagine two spies; one from South Korea and another from the North reuniting years after both are no longer in the espionage business. Will they pretend to not know each other or plot to murder each other?

The story follows Agent Lee Han-gyoo (Song Kang-ho), a South Korean spy who falls from grace after failing to stop the assassination of a North Korean dissident.

Meanwhile, Ji-won (Kang Dang-won) is a North Korean undercover spy living in South Korea who is betrayed by his fellow agent.

Six years later, Han-gyoo works as a private investigator and Ji-won in construction. Fate brings them together later in life; will they pick up what they left years ago?

Watch the trailer here.

8.Silmido (2013)

In 1968, a black operations unit of the Republic of Korea Air Force known as Unit 684 is formed to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.

Thirty-one civilians made up of either petty criminals or unemployed youths are recruited with the promise of money and jobs if they succeed in their mission.

Unit 684 members are trained on Silmido, an inhabited island off the Yellow Sea. They have to endure harsh training for years, during which seven of them die.

Things go even farther south in August 1971, when the assassination mission is cancelled following the improvement of relations between North and South Korea.

Feeling betrayed and upset after all they went through, the surviving members of Unit 684 start an uprising against the South Korean government.

This movie is the dramatised version of the Unit 684 retaliation against their government.

Watch the trailer here.

9.The Spies (2012)
The Spy2012 poster

Imagine living your life undercover for 22 years and suddenly you receive a mission to assassinate a target.

Section chief Kim (Kim Myung-min) was dispatched to South Korea 22 years ago to spy for the North Korean government. Over the years, he sticks to his life routine; making a living by selling fake Viagra pills smuggled from China.

After he receives a sudden assassination order, he starts to gather his teammates.

The movie follows how Kim and his teammates reluctantly carry out the assassination plot.

10.Double Agent (2003)

During the Cold War, Lim Byong-ho (Han Suk-kyu) is chased by North Korean officials in Berlin where he narrowly escapes.

However, he is caught by South Korean officials in which he is brought back to South Korea for interrogation.

After enduring horrifying torture, Lim convinces the South Korean to let him working as a training officer for operatives on survival in North Korea.

The plot thickens as it turns out Lim is actually a North Korean spy who still receives orders from his sleeper agent in South Korea.

Watch the trailer here.