South Korea: Land of the Free(bies)
I got to attend a special screening for FREE of Cha In Pyo’s newest film “Crossing”. The regular showing is on June 26th. It was held at theatre 12 of COEX Megabox, a multiplex located in the business district of Gangnam. I had two tickets but I went there by myself. My husband took care of our son 😀
The cinema is located 600 meters from Samseong station. I got my tickets 5 minutes before the scheduled showing at 8:30PM. I didn’t have dinner so I bought a regular sized popcorn (3,500 won) and a bottle of Gatorade (2,000 won).
I really hoped that Cha In Pyo would be there, but of course that was really just wishful thinking. Majority of the audience were non-Koreans and I could say that I was the only Filipina there. The theatres capacity is 124, I counted the seats, but there were a few vacant seats.
The story is about a father, Kim Yong Soo (played by Cha In Pyo), a North Korean soccer player turned miner, who crossed the borders to China to find medicine for his pregnant and Tuberculosis infected wife. He worked in China to earn some money but lost his savings in a raid. A people trafficker tricked him (and others) to go to the German Embassy for freedom. He found himself in South Korea while his son and wife were in the North. He hired a broker to help him contact his family, but his wife has died and his son was sent to the labor camp.
The setting in North Korea looked like it was the 1950’s but it was subtitled as “Present day North Hamgyung province in North Korea.” I’d seen several documentaries on the north and I thought that the movie reflected the lives of people there as told by defectors. I’d seen stories of North Koreans trying to enter foreign embassies in China to gain freedom. I’d read stories of how unsuccessful defectors were sent to labor camps and how badly women who got pregnant in China were treated. There were scenes of children eating dirt, stealing, and scavenging for food. They made me guilty for buying that expensive popcorn!
One of the scenes I won’t forget is when Yongsoo tried to buy medicine that was prescribed for his wife in the North in South Korea. He was told that if he could bring his wife to the hospital, medications for her disease are free. I didn’t know that before.
I stayed until the credits were done as I tried to absorb everything. The boy who played Cha In Pyo’s son is good. The movie is okay, not the best I’d seen and it’s also not the worst. It just didn’t affect me as I’d expected. I think people should watch it, specially South Korean kids so they will realize how lucky they are! They should be thankful to those who gave up their lives so they could be free.
So I hope you guys watch it when it arrives at theatres near you. They might show it with English subtitles in selected cinemas in Seoul.