The Battleship Island

Ryoo Seung-wan

32ยบ Festival

Focus and Retrospectives

Korea, Guest Country of Honor

Length: 132min

Country: South Korea


D: Ryoo Seung-wan
M: Adam Klemens
P: Cho Sung-min
CP: Filmmaker R & K
I: Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, Song Joong-ki, Lee Jung-hyun, Kim Su-an


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There’s an island called Battleship Island, where many Koreans were forcibly drafted into serving the Japanese imperial army and mining coal, where they were treated miserably. Director Ryoo Seung-wan cinematized the island’s tragic history, with parallels to Bong Joon-ho’s conceptual critique inSnowpiercer. Just as leaders in the tail carriage must cooperate with the head carriage to make the train roll onwards, Korean collaborators are essential in Battleship Island’s mines. The film seriously brings up the pro-Japanese issue, a stain in the history of modern Korea. Controversies rose in Korea at the time of the release, prompting a director’s cut that is 19 minutes longer and includes a noticeable scene in which the pro-Japanese are eradicated. The segment in which Mu-young executes a traitor who sold Koreans out to Battleship Island makes the consciousness of this film much more clear.

Nam Dong-chul
Ryoo Seung-wan

He was born in 1973 in Onyang, South Korea. He is a director and writer. He started his career with Die Bad in 2000 and became one of the most successful current Korean directors, with films like Veteran (2015), The Berline File (2013) and The City of Violence (2006). His first film Die Bad (2000) is also programmed in this section of the Festival.


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