Partisan is originally a French word referring to a party member or comrade, which was adopted by the Russian language to become the word Партизан, whose pronunciation was adopted in turn by Koreans, who utilized the term in a different manner that reflects the history of the people: In South Korea, partisans commonly refer to members of North Korean People’s Guerilla Fighters. It is difficult to comprehensively discuss the history of partisans, but to summarize they are guerrilla fighters sympathetic to the South Korean Workers’ Party, who were chased into the mountains of the Taebaeksanmaek Mountain Range after the Korean War ended in the armistice. Most of these communist fighters were captured or killed by the South Korean police and armed forces. Partisans are the cause of one of the largest pains in the Korean history, but rarely depicted by the cinematic art form. In response, this special feature was planned to face the tragedies of modern and contemporary Korean history through the lens of partisans.
This special feature introduces five films archived by the KMDb VOD service. In fact, these are practically the only cinematic works from South Korea that deal with the topic of partisans. As such, it is fortunate that KMDb VOD is in possession of all of the above films that will be discussed in this article. The films are presented not in chronological or alphabetic order, but in internal progression of events in and among them.
To elaborate, the below films begin their journey with PIAGOL, the original partisan movie, then move onto NORTH KOREAN PARTISAN IN SOUTH KOREA and THE TAE-BAEKS, which focus on recreating the history on the silver screen, culminating in THE LAST WITNESS and JAGKO, which deal with the times after the era of partisans. NORTH KOREAN PARTISAN IN SOUTH KOREA and THE TAE-BAEKS can be presented in alternating orders, which is the same for THE LAST WITNESS and JAGKO as well. The intent of this producer was to have the viewers follow the films in the order of PIAGOL-(NORTH KOREAN PARTISAN IN SOUTH KOREA, THE TAE-BAEKS)-(THE LAST WITNESS, JAGKO), and have them develop a chronology of history of partisans, who were a relative mystery to South Koreans (the order of the works in the parentheses can be changed, but the order of the groups demarcated by parentheses should not be changed).
Heo Jin-Hyeok, a Winner of the Gold Prize