Ok this commentary is regarding a Korean movie titled 작은 연못 "Small Pond"
I just finished watching this a few minutes ago so my commentary may be a bit jaded by emotion.
This movie is centered around an alleged massacre of Korean civilians by American forces at the onset of the Korean war. The movie opens with scenes of peaceful village life in the northern part of Korea that make everything look like a perfect paradise on earth. Then along come some American soldiers with loud speakers, and an interpreter who speaks only Japanese, and they announce that everyone must evacuate the village because war is coming. The people evacuate to the high mountains but the Americans come again and tell them they must go down and go toward the south. Then as the weary village people travel south they are forced off the road by American troops and begin to travel along a set of railroad tracks. There they are met again by American troops that insist they stop and sit down and then their meager possessions are violently ransacked looking for weapons. After a while there are whistles blowing and the Americans standing guard run away, then allied jet planes come and drop bombs on the group of 200-300 civilians and the American soldiers nearby begin shooting at them. At this point the movie posts up a supposed war era message that ordered US troops to kill any refugees trying to flee across the front lines (one has to question the authenticity of this intercepted message). Then the US troops continue to shooting through the night at the refugees who managed to take shelter under a concrete train trestle. All but a few people are killed by the gunfire. In the end a North Korean soldier, a young boy looking about 14 years old, approaches the heap of bodies, around which flies are buzzing madly, and says "The American Dogs (미국놈들) have all run away -is anyone still alive?" Then a single little boy stands up. Finally the survivors are all reunited in their old village, but things will obviously never be the same. The movie ends with 'memories' of the village children singing and all the adults happily applauding them. At the very last part there is a somewhat 'fair' commentary regarding the incident, that included the fact that neither the South Korean nor the US government officially acknowledges the massacre.
There are also two scenes of whales flying through the air -- I'm glad for this imagery because it alludes to this film's kind of biased, unbalanced, fantasy and fabrication.
While I can readily acknowledge that such terrible tragedies occur in almost every war, I am certain that there were many factors that we can never fully know. The obvious problems I see in this film are as follows:
1. There is no strategic reason for the US forces to be at the village or at the site of the alleged massacre. There are no North Korean troops present, no immanent threat, and nobody returning fire. If the incident really occurred there would no doubt have been North Korean troops nearby, and we also do not know if the North Korean troops were using the villagers as human shields. It may also be that the North Korean troops killed their own people because they were fleeing to the south. We should remember that NKs version of communism was based on Stalin's Russia and remember the 'scorched earth' (burning his own villages, farms, and towns to keep them out of German hands) policy he employed against the Germans.
2. I'm sorry -- did only Americans fight in the Korean war? I thought there were 17 other nations involved. But if a massacre occurred it must be the US troops huh?
3. The surviving witnesses might indeed be NK refugees - isn't that possible? I'm not saying the people who suffered this terrifying ordeal, some only children at the time, are deliberately lying, but it is very possible their version of the truth is somewhat skewed by emotional distress, hearsay, and propaganda.
Overall, I would give the movie a 4 out of 5 stars - yep a high rating for what I consider a biased and historically unsubstantiated film, but I give that high a rating because of exquisite imagery, easy to understand dialog (for a foreign speaker of Korean), and emotionally moving portrayal of the sufferings of the Korean war. One sure thing we know, the suffering was real.