1919: 100th Anniversary of the March First Independence Movement and the Korean Provisional Governme

2019-03-01 ~ 2019-03-31
1919: 100th Anniversary of the March First Independence Movement and the Korean Provisional Governme
[Winner of the Silver Prize in the 10th “I am a Producer” Contest in 2018]

2018 is a year in which a solid understanding of history is more important for Koreans than in any other time: K-drama, MR. SUNSHINE put independence fighters under the limelight, raising awareness about Korean history among its viewers. 2019 is the one hundredth anniversary of the March First Independence Movement and the founding of the Korean Provisional Government. This special feature presents films that depict the events regarding the independence movements up until 1919, which enabled the two important events in the Korean history. The article also leads the viewers out of the silver screen to explore history in various aspects.

Lee Jong-Yeol, a Winner of the Silver Prize

  • 01. King Gojong and Martyr An Jung-Geun (Gojonghwangje-wa uisa An Junggeun) Jeon Chang-keun, 1959
    The film tells the story of King Gojong and An Jung-Geun, key historical figures during the late Korean Empire era (1897-1910). It provides a painstaking description of the efforts made by King Gojong, who tried to maintain Korean independence despite the difficulties posed by the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905 (through which Japan forced diplomatic authority from the Korean government) and Hague Secret Emissary Affair of 1907 (in which King Gojong dispatched emissaries to the International Peace Conference hosted at the Hague to promote the illegitimacy of the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905). The film also displays the devotion of An Jung-Geun, a patriot who was killed because of his efforts to preserve Korean independence. In particular, the film shows important historical moments such as the one in which An Jung-Geun executed Ito Hirobumi, the Japanese governor-general of Korea, in Harbin, China, in 1909. Jeon Chang-keun, who directed the film, also starred as An Jung-Geun. An Chang-ho, another independence fighter who became the topic of resurged interest in Korea because of K-drama, MR. SUNSHINE, makes an appearance as a character as well.

    ▶History Tour Recommendation: Deoksugung Palace (in Seoul, Korea), An Jung-Geun Memorial (in Harbin, China)
  • 02. Yu Gwan-Sun (Yu Gwansun) Yun Bong-chun, 1959
    The tragic death of King Gojong led to the beginning of the March First Independence Movement. Film YU GWAN-SUN remembers the sacrifice of the independence fighter Yu Gwan-Sun who led a short life from 1902 to 1920. During the March First Independence Movement of 1919, she was only sixteen, a student, and a woman. The film makes a symbolic display of the natural fact that women and students were also at the center of the Korean independence movement. The enlightened actions of Yu Gwan-Sun, who was interested in the current affairs outside of classroom, and acted to raise awareness in the Korean citizenry, provide much suggestions for student-led activism of the current era as well. Do Kum-bong played the role of the independence fighter, and vividly depicts the power of an active woman.

    ▶History Tour Recommendation: Yu Gwan-Sun Memorial (in Cheonan, Korea), Yu Gwan-Sun Memorial (in Ewha Girls’ High School, Seoul, Korea)
  • 03. Ah! Baekbeom Kim Ku (Ah! Baek Beom Kim Ku Seonsaeng) Jeon Chang-keun, 1960
    This film is a good guide to understanding Kim Ku, an independence fighter who was active during the Japanese occupation. From small facts such as the man’s original name to his involvement in the Donghak Peasant Revolution of 1894, Assassination of Queen Myeongseong in 1985, and the foundation of the New People’s Association in 1907. After watching the film, the viewers may be inspired to visit the site of Korean Provisional Government located in Shanghai, the home of Korean independence movement. Jeon Chang-keun, the director of KING GOJONG AND MARTYR AN JUNG-GEUN, directed the film and starred as Kim Ku. Yoon Il-bong played the role of martyr Yun Bong-gil.

    ▶History Tour Recommendation: Site of the Korean Provisional Government (in Shanghai, China)
  • 04. The Daughters of Kim's Pharmacy ( Gimyakguk-ui Ttaldeul ) Yu Hyun-mok, 1963
    The film is based on a novel of the same title written by Park Kyung-ri, telling the story of the late Korean Empire era (1897-1910) and the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945). While the work does not directly deal with independence fighters such as Kim Ku, An Jung-Geun, and Yu Gwan-Sun, it tells the story of a family whose fall begins in 1919 to describe the pains of a stolen era. In the movie, the viewers can see actress Um Aing-ran and the recently deceased actor Shin Seong-il, who would be married one year after the movie was released.

    ▶History Tour Recommendation: Nammangsan Mountain (in Tongyeong, Korea), Gangguan (in Tongyeong, Korea)
  • 05. Traces (Ijojanyeong) Shin Sang-ok, 1967
    The film tells a tragic love story between a Korean woman and a Japanese man during the Japanese occupation of Korea. They were separated because of events during the March First Independence Movement in 1919. The film reflects the hostilities and awkwardness that prevails to this day because no apologies or remedies were made by Japan for over a century, and brings a precious message for building a more constructive relationship for the two countries.

    ▶History Tour Recommendation: Gyeongbukgung Palace (in Seoul, Korea)

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