South Korean Films: How Do They Portray North Koreans?

In the Republic of Korea, besides issues with Japan, North Korea is constantly looming around in the back of the people’s collective consciousness. Why am I suddenly writing about this?

On July 6, we wrote about North Korea having a girl group that can be considered similar to the Girls’ Generation. It looks as though there were rumors that the First Lady (Lee Sul Joo) to the current leader of North Korea, was thought to have been a part of the North Korean girl group. That has not been confirmed yet, but pictures of her have surfaced and the Korean populace is very interested in her because of her beautiful looks.

Naturally, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the different South Korean films that portrayed or had as its subject, the relationship between North and South Korea.

Hope you enjoy!

The Spy – (Direct Translation: North Korean Spy Lee Chul Jin)

This film was quite interesting as the North Korean spy Lee Chul Jin (Portrayed by Yoo Oh Sung) was the main character. Unfortunately I could not find a trailer but, basically this North Korean Spy is sent to South Korea in order to help solve the food shortage problem in the North. He ends up getting caught up in the everyday life of living as an impoverished South Korean.

Shiri

This film was basically the first big blockbuster film of South Korea. The story was about a North Korean spy Lee Bang Hee who was sent to South Korea. She was a deadly female sniper who was married to a South Korean agent searching for her. Things begin to escalate as the North Korean spies hidden in South Korea continue to assassinate South Korean government figures.

The film starred Han Suk Kyu, Choi Min Sik, Kim Yoon Jin, and Sang Kang Ho.

Silmido

Silmido is about a secret commando unit with the mission to assassinate the North Korean leader in the late 1960s. This was based on a true story.
The film stars Sol Kyung Gu, Ahn Sung Ki, Heo Joon Ho, and Jeong Jae Yeong.

Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War

The film is about two brothers are drafted into the army during the beginning of the North-South Korean war. The brothers grow estranged due to events that happen during the war.
The film stars Jang Dong Gun, Won Bin, Lee Eun Joo, Choi Min Sik, and Jo Yun Hie.

Poongsan

The film stars Yoon Kye Sang (from G.O.D.) and the beautiful Kim Kyu Ri. “Poongsan” is about a mysterious man (played by Yoon Kye Sang) who can go back between Seoul (South Korean Capital) and Pyongyang (North Korean Capital) within three hours. He receives a secret request by South Korean government agents asking him to bring over In Ok (Kim Kyu Ri) who is the lover of a high-ranking North Korean defector. On their way back to South Korea, they fall in love with each other. South Korean agents ask a dangerous request. Also, North Korean spies scheme to capture In Ok in order to execute the high-ranking North Korean defector.

Secret Reunion

Secret Reunion is about an ex-agent of the Korean national Intelligence Service portrayed by Song Kang Ho and a sleeper cell North Korean spy portrayed by Kang Dong Won. Song Kang Ho’s character “Lee Han Gyu” realizes that Kang Dong Won’s character ” Ji-Won” is a spy and tries to set a trap for him.

South of the Border

South of the Border is about a North Korean man played by Cha Seung Won who flees to the South with his family. His lover played by Jo I-Jin does not make it down with him. Eventually he starts a new life and marries, when one day his ex-lover manages to flee to South Korea as well. (I really enjoyed this film, despite the fact that it was heartbreaking)

Welcome to Dongmakgol

This heartwarming film was about North and South Korean troops trapped within a town that had no knowledge of the Korean War. The film stars Shin Ha Kyun, Jeong Jae Yeong, and Kang Hye Jeong.

Joint Security Area

At the DMZ zone between South and North Korea, two North Korean soldiers are killed. Swiss Army Major Sophie E. Jang (Portrayed by Lee Young Ae) is sent to investigate. However, the people (A South Korean Sergeant played by Lee Byung Hun and a North Korean Sergeant played by Song Kang Ho) involved have conflicting stories.

The Front Line

The Front Line is based on the ceasefire set in 1953. A South Korean officer is found dead after being shot by a South Korean bullet. Kang Eun Pyo is sent to investigate the murder and a mole who mailed a letter from a North Korean soldier to his family in South Korea. The film stars Shin Ha Kyun and Go Soo.