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MUSA: THE WARRIOR

South Korea, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Kim Sung Su

1375 and China is in chaos: the Ming Dynasty has seized power from the Yuan. Korea's ancient government sends a delegation of diplomats and soldiers to China to pledge peace. Ambushed and exiled to the desert to die, the delegation survivors resolve to make it back to their homeland as a matter of honour. Their treacherous trek frames a torrid romance between the Korean commander and a Ming princess (Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) saved from slaughter.

Inspired by Kurosawa and Peckinpah, director Kim Sung Su choreographs his action with The Wild Bunch and Kagemusha in mind, some scenes even rivalling the opening salvo of Saving Private Ryan. From combat to silk-shrouded seduction scenes, Musa: The Warrior exudes sophistication.

Kim Sung Su directed his first short, Dead End, in 1993. He followed with three features - Runaway (1996), Beat (1997) and Our Sunny Days (1999) - before Musa: The Warrior.

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