[Marxism] Pathology and Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 19 14:54:09 MDT 2013

My introduction to Korean films and the changing political landscape in 
the south was Lee Chang-dong’s 2000 masterpiece “Peppermint Candy”.  Not 
only was it a fearless assault on South Korean repression of strikes and 
student protests in the 1980s, it was my pick for best narrative film 
that year leaving Academy Award winner “Gladiator” in the dust. If Hong 
Kong cinema had become increasingly formulaic by then, South Korea 
picked up the slack and turned into by far the most fertile ground for 
new cinema in the world.

Chang-dong Lee went on to write and direct other masterpieces, including 
“Mother” and “Poetry”, but even more importantly to serve as a symbol of 
progress in the south and reconciliation with the north in his capacity 
as Minister of Culture and Tourism in 2003-2004 under reformer President 
Roh Moo-hyun. Roh continued the policies of Kim Dae-jung who ruled from 
1998 to 2003. Widely regarded as the Nelson Mandela of South Korea, Kim 
instituted the “Sunshine Policy” that sought to bring the two halves of 
the country closer together.


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