North-South Korea Relations in Films

Dr. Do Hyun Han

Academy of Korea Studies, Korea

Korea is still struggling with the legacy of the Cold War. The current six-way talks to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issues have attracted much attention from major international news agencies and world politicians. Korea’s DMZ (‘demilitarized zone’, near the North-South border) is the most heavily armed area in the world. Despite the chilling image of the Korean peninsula, however, the two Koreas are moving slowly toward to reconciliation and unification. The epochal meeting of President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-Il in June 2000 is the most striking event for the new relationship between South and North Korea. The meeting was in preparation since the mid-1990’s, when the two Korean relations started to quickly improve. From the mid- 1990’s, the anti-communist stance has lightened up greatly in South Korea. In September 2000, communist political prisoners were repatriated to North Korea. These new changes are eloquently represented by recent Korean films. In this lecture, the speaker will use still images from such recent Korean films as: Shiri (1999), JSA (2000), The Road Taken (2003), and Repatriation (2004).


South and North Korea are willing to overcome the legacy of the Cold War.


South and North Korea, the only divided country, move slowly toward to reconciliation and unification, of which symptoms are observed in many areas, including the recent Korean Films. In this lecture, still images from Shiri (1999), JSA (2000), The Road Taken (2003), and Repatriation (2004) will be served together with the history of the Korean division.