I admit that I decided to watch this because of Lee Junki, but this movie is worth watching even if one is not a fan of him.
This movie depicts the actual events that happened during the 1980 Gwangju Massacre in South Korea when it was ruled by a military dictator, during which the innocent citizens of Gwangju were killed indiscriminately by the army.
Although the movie did not seem to stay completely true to history (certain events in actual history were left out in the movie, maybe due to time constraints), but it did succeed in driving through the message that Korea has come a long way to become the country of Kpop today. As I got to know about Korea through the Hallyu wave, it probably did not occur to me immediately that this country also has a dark and troubled past (think the Japanese colonisation of Korea, WWII, Korean War, military dictatorship etc). I think it’s only right that we try to understand korean history besides simply fangirling. The glitzy and modern land of Kimchi and glamorous idols that we know through kpop is just the surface of Korea.
This movie was also meaningful to me because I had been to Gwangju last year. It was a pity that I only got to spend a day there shopping, and did not get to see more of the city (my friend managed to visit the Gwangju massacre memorial). Several poignant scenes in the show, such as that of a blind woman looking for her son only to find him dead, Lee Junki leading the student movement without fear of death, citizens who could have fled but decided to join the resistance instead, the teacher who sacrificed himself to protect his student etc, clearly depicted the horrors of war. It was also sad to realise that all the characters in the show had bright futures ahead of them but were doomed to die. They did not stand a chance against the army, but still put up a brave fight nonetheless.
This movie is recommended if you are interested in learning more about Korean history (and maybe for those who haven’t gotten over Bridal Mask keke).