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A Little Pond

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A Little Pond

(Jageun Yeonmot / The Bridge at Nogunri)
Sponsored by: CinéAsie & Korean Film Council

Canadian Premiere

  • South Korea 2009
  • 86 min
  • 35mm
  • Korean with English subtitles
Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2010

Genre

WarHistorical

Screening Times

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“A quiet, underplayed, life-goes-on account of the bloody incident, that unspools as gently as a Hou Hsiao-hsien film” — New York Asian Film Festival

Credits

Director: Lee Saang-woo
Screenplay: Lee Saang-woo, from Jung Eun-yong/Choi Sang-hoon, Charles J. Hanley & Martha Mendoza
Cast: Moon Sung-keun, Choi Jong-ryul, Kim Nae-ha, Shin Myung-cheol
Producers: Lee Woo-jung
Print Source: M-Line

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Korean Cinema   

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Korean Cinema


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Description

July, 1950. One month into the Korean War. North Korean troops have taken hold of Seoul and battered the South Korean army. In spite of the United Nations’ intervention, led largely by the Americans, North Korea progresses south a little each day. The Pyongy-ang regime seems on its way to a crushing victory.

In the small village of Nogunri, however, all is calm and peaceful. The war that’s eating up the country seems to exist as nothing but a distant rumor. Until now, all goes well. Then suddenly, some villagers witness the arrival of the first American trucks. Soon after, a group of Western soldiers (accompanied by a Japanese interpreter) shows up and gives the order to evacuate the village and head south. The people of Nogunri hit the road but are intercepted by American troops further along the way. Because of the scope of North Korea’s power, confusion reigns amongst international forces, who are in way over their heads. There is more and more talk about communist soldiers passing off as civilians, a practice the villagers know nothing of. Even when the first bomb explodes at the heart of their group, they can’t imagine that American forces have been ordered to eliminate them all.

The massacre under the Nogunri Bridge, where a group of civilians found shelter following an American strike, should have been avoided. Men, women and children were slaughtered by troops sent in to rescue them. Furthermore, American authorities continue to deny the carnage that took place at Nogunri. Calls from survivors and the victims’ families have found a receptive ear in theatre veteran Lee Saang-woo who, for his first incursion into cinema, delves into this controversy so that we do not forget this historical blunder. A LITTLE POND took eight years of valiant effort, butting heads with the South Korean government and dealing with financial woes. Lee consulted written accounts of the tragedy, as well as interviews with many of the survivors, to create a poignant script; intimate, extremely well constructed and densely documented. Soberly photographed, poetic and supported by an irreproachably genuine cast, A LITTLE POND (like LES ORDRES by Michel Brault) demonstrates how much some orders given by a central command center, far from the concerned territory where notions of judgment would be greatly beneficial, can lead to catastrophic mix-ups. Close to 3,600,000 civilians were killed during the Korean War. At Nogunri, an opportunity was missed to subtract a few hundred innocents from that number.

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Guillaume Desbiens)

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