Korea's master director Im Kwon-Taek has over 100 features to his name including the highlight of last years AFI Korean season, Sopyonje. The wisdom of experience shows in his steady handling of the huge cast and complex events in this epic Korean Civil War melodrama that tells history from the grassroots perspective. Tjime and a more open society enabled the French to acknowledge that not everyone was in the Resistance during the Second World War. For the South Koreans today, it means admitting that not everyone opposed the Communist advance between 1948 and 1950. Caught in the deadly struggle between Left and Right, the peaceful co-existence of the residents on the little town of Bulkyo is destroyed forever as they first take sides and fight each other and then struggle just to survive.
An instructive companion piece to 1994's beautiful To the Starry Island, The Taebeck Mountains is a powerful film by any measure; for Korean audiences it has been cathartic.