During the invasion of Normandy the photograph of a slim Korean man in German uniform was found. It transpired that the man had served as a soldier in the Japanese, Russian and German armies. His incredible story inspired director Kang Je-Gyu to create this epic war drama and tell for the first time the story of the Second World War from a Korean point of view. This big-budget production features stupendous battle scenes but also the moving story of two rivals who in spite of the war manage to find common ground. Jun-shik, a Korean, and Tatsuo, who is Japanese, meet during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Both men are promising marathon runners but their friendly rivalry soon turns sour and makes them bitter enemies. When war breaks out they to travel a distance of 12,000 kilometres – from battles on the Manchurian-Mongolian border, to Siberia and finally Normandy. During this time they first hate, then fight each other. But gradually their hatred gives way to acceptance and finally, they become friends once more – united by their inextinguishable dream of one day winning a gold medal in a marathon. –Berlinale
"Chariots of Fire" and "Saving Private Ryan" are tossed in the bunker together for this expensive Korean film that's thick with melodrama. This is an amalgamation of a true story and I suspect it would have likely worked if Jang Don-gun wasn't the main protagonist - his character is entirely static throughout the film. It's Jô Odagiri who goes through the most changes by the time the credits roll and, indeed, who gives "My Way's" best performance...but the screenplay doesn't zero in on him until the movie is nearly over. That's when the Normandy invasion begins - unfortunately, director Je Gyu Kang still has a way of filming combat that's more Michael Bay in "Pearl Harbor" than it is Spielberg's "Private Ryan."
A breakdown of the VIFF experience, its qualities and traits.