[SECTION 3] Cold War Theater / October 14th?19th


Korea, 1955, 106min, B&W, 35min

Lee Kang-cheon

One of the few partisan units left in Mt. Jiri after the signing of the Armistice, the unit led by a captain nicknamed “Agari” commits all manner of atrocities. One day, a female partisan soldier named So-ju, who had been transferred to another unit, finds her way back to Piagol with a bullet wound in her shoulder. Man-su rapes the injured So-ju who dies under his assault. In order to cover up his crime, he murders his fellow soldiers. Once the extermination of guerillas in Mt. Jiri begins, Cheol-su, who has started to grow disillusioned with communist ideology, and Ae-ran, who has romantic feelings for Cheol-su, discuss defection but are discovered in the act by Agari. The first movie made with partisans as main characters after the division of the Korean peninsula, Piagol was banned and some scenes had to be changed due to its humane portrayal of North Korean partisan soldiers before it was shown to the public. At the time of its release, the film was critically accepted as an excellent cinematic model for anti-communist humanism and is now remembered as a leading film of Korean realism.
Born in 1921 in Seocheon, Korea, Lee studied art in Tokyo. He won many awards for his second film Piagol (1955) and was favorably received as a director who artistically depicted human consciousness. After retirement, he engrossed himself in Oriental painting. He died on September 2, 1993.