Sung-kee Ahn - Heung-su Park
Sang-jyung Kim - Min-woo Kang
Jun-gi Lee - Jin-woo Kang
Yu-won Lee - Shin-ae Park
Jae-ho Song - Priest
Having lost his parents at a young age, Min-woo takes care of his younger brother Jin-woo much like a father would. He harbors a secret crush on Shin-ae, a nurse he meets at a church gathering, and persuades her to go on a date with him to the movies. But not long after the film begins, they hear the sound of sirens and are rushed out of the theater. Outside they find chaos in the streets : Tear gas dances wildly and soldiers mobilized for crowd control have taken to violent beatings. Bewildered and enraged, the citizens form a militia, determined to protect the ones they love - and Min-woo finds himself in the middle of it all.
Sad but true:
May 17, 1980
After the Coup d'état of December Twelfth (1979) in Seoul, ROK Army Lieutenant General Chun Doo-hwan, commander of Security Command, declared martial law on May 17, 1980 to suppress student demonstrations around the country. The next day, students in Gwangju protested at the gate of Chonnam National University against the closing of the university, when armed forces blocking the university responded with violent means. After the incident, students moved into the downtown area, where they were joined by the citizens of the city. The growing crowd was met by the use of force, including gunfire, that caused some fatalities.
May 20, 1980
As the news of the fatalities spread, on May 20, protesters burned down the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation local station which, under effective government control, portrayed the protests as hooligans led by Communist agents. By May 21, some 300,000 people had joined the protest against the General's power; weapons depots and police stations were looted of their weapons and the civil militias, known as the Citizen Army, beat back the armed forces, killing several soldiers.
With all routes and communications leading in and out of the city blocked by armed forces, a civilian body was formed to maintain order and conduct negotiations with the government. Although order was well maintained, a number of negotiations to resolve the situation failed to achieve any results.
May 27, 1980
On May 27, airborne and army troops from five divisions were inserted and defeated the civil militias in the downtown area in only 90 minutes.
I'm telling you right now, I didn't expect to sob as much as I did during this movie. It's heavy on emotion, national pride, love, brotherhood, friendship, and faith.
I hope that my two sons will be as close as Min-woo and Jin-woo were in this movie. The bond was intense. The scenes were bloody and loving.
I only thought you would only see this in America. But to see this, and for it to happen in 1980 was just insane. At that time, I was blanketed in the security of believing in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and that Rick Springfield was god. To think, I don't want to think about it, it's just unbelievable.
I guess at that time, the Communist scare was hidden in the shadows and for the government to lose control on this one town....it stinks. I can only hope that, not just S. Koreans, but the world at that time learned something. I'm saddened.......and I weep for those who died for that cause.
Okay, tears are forming again. I feel my chest tightening.....sobs are about to escape.
Lee Jun Ki