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71: Into the Fire (포화속으로)

It’s not all No Gun Ri this summer — also to be released in June is John Lee’s “71: Into the Fire,” which tells the tale of the student soldiers who fought in the desperate battles along the Nakdong Perimeter in August 1950.

If you live in California — and I’m not really sure why you would — you might be able to catch a showing of it at Stanford’s Asia-Pacific Research Center on May 27.

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  • slantwise

    What’s with the CA bashing? Weather in DC sucks, I miss CA.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Rob,

    We are not all so lucky to have been born and raised in the paradise that is known as Long Island!

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Although if you believe dogbertt, milk and honey flowed even in the gutters of Fullerton, CA in the days of yore…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Oh… and the movie… looks like Tae Guk Gi lite.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I’ll most probably watch this one. One thing, though…I find it unlikely that the students were armed with M1 Garands. Wouldn’t the students have been given surplus Arisaka rifles (most probably those fabricated by the Jinsen Arsenal in Incheon)?

    Here’s a longer article on the movie and others to be released this year for the 60th.

    http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2918632

    (Balanced portrayal of the North Korean soldiers? Does that mean that he’ll show how they routinely tortured and executed their prisoners?)

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Someone voted a thumb down to the above? Why? Do you believe there was an abundance of M1 Garands to go around just a few days after the Korean war began? Fact is, the South Korean army had many Arisaka rifles, nearly 140 000 of which were eventually bored to use the Springfield 30-06. North Koreans also did torture and kill their prisoners (it’s estimated that about a third only survived their captivity). With a little effort, you’ll find accounts of bodies hung from trees with cigarette burns covering their bodies, pictures of mass graves, and of bodies with their hands tied behind their back. Just recently, the remains of one such victim, an American, were found by a South Korean farmer, identified by forensics experts, and returned to his family.

  • cm

    Not a fan of Korean action films. My main beef: over acting when there’s shooting.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Some people don’t like any (positive) mention of anything American or Japanese during the War of Stalinist Aggression…

    OTOH, Korea would not be as prosperous and free as little Kosovo, if the “Unification Force” had been successful in “liberating” the peninsula of democracy. One need only look at Pyongyang to see that the maladjusted trolls running the show are only happy when the whole nation is on their knees begging for a handful of rice and there’s only one place to find it…

    And they punish anyone who tries to lift up the basic poverty of their citizens…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    BTW, the brave students who died defending their country from tyrants deserve a lot better than a footnote in History.

    On August 10, 1950, the issue was still very much in doubt. Their sacrifice and valor may have been the straw that broke the camels back. They might have been the ones who enabled just enough time for South Korea’s allies to stiffen the Pusan defense and go on the attack…

  • slantwise

    Honestly, I wouldn’t miss Fullerton if I had lived there. I miss my days in Berkeley and Santa Monica. In contrast, DC seems little too stuffy. It has benefits, in terms of career and mass transportation. But, the culture is little too conservative for my taste. For some reason, I just see Long Island as a paradise if you were guido or guidette. It must be the MTV influence.

  • slantwise

    For some reason, I just see Long Island as a paradise if you were guido or guidette. It must be the MTV influence.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    sw, Anyone can be happy anywhere…

    It’s all about the baggage you bring along with you…

  • hamel

    Gee, the thumbs up/down on this thread are very interesting, aren’t they?

    Do we have some commies among us, or NK/KIS/KJI sympathizers?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Their sacrifice and valor may have been the straw that broke the camels back. They might have been the ones who enabled just enough time for South Korea’s allies to stiffen the Pusan defense and go on the attack…

    I wouldn’t disparage – indeed, I honor – anyone who stands on the line where the metal meets the meat; but let’s not distort the historical record in the process.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Gee, the thumbs up/down on this thread are very interesting, aren’t they?

    Indeed.

  • hamel

    Look at that, Sperwer, you got two thumbs down (and only one of them was from me) just for agreeing!

    How do I add a winkie smily face here? ;-)

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Obviously, though, I need to improve the quality of my enemies. ;)

  • hamel

    I am mentally tallying how many computers there are in my office. If I go around and give one thumbs down at each, I can drive you into the ground, Spewer.

  • hamel

    I think that eventually someone will look through the Marmot’s to find the comment that has had the most thumbs down and then try to beat it by saying something deliberately provocative.

    Of course, one could theorize that Pawikirogii does that already, but subconsciously….

  • foflappy

    ” where the metal meets the meat”…..

    Sperwer, c’mon…..Melheart from We Were Soldiers? I don’t dis the sentiment but, geeze…..ham fisted.

  • Pingback: Will “71 – Into the Fire” Be the Top Korean War Film this Year? | ROK Drop

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    The Battle of Pohang, being handled primarily by ROK vs. DPRK forces, is not well documented in my only language. However, it was a very fluid affair, the city changing hands many times (Norks given credit for capturing it twice does not tell the full story).

    The American version of history talks primarily about “the bowling alley” fight; but it was the fight in and around Pohang that blunted the eastern column’s spear. Yes, there were desperate fights all along the Pusan Perimeter; but how many were made with kids wearing school uniforms?

    BTW, my wife, who patiently listened to my admittedly over-dramatic explanations despite her lack of love for “boy movies” (as she calls them), told me these young heroes were so far from being alone in their sacrifice for country that there is not enough land to memorialize every one. It’s why, she stated with no small amount of pride, South Korea is strong.

    Apparently the Koreans know all about this stuff and they’ve been holding back on us…

  • Richardx

    Feherenbach writes:
    ” And in the summer of 1950 ROK losses point up a fact that was decisive..by heavily engaging the victorious Inmun Gun again and again, the ROK Army inflicted deadly losses upon it. Losses at the time were not credited to them by American Officers. In some cases ROK units, in dying, destroyed NK regiments…..”
    While it might not have been “the best army outside the US”, it did its duty. It bought time with its blood.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    “Of whom the world was not worthy” is my immediate thought…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    setnaffa,

    It’s not that Koreans are holding back… it’s just that for a very long time Koreans believed their histories to not be all that interesting to anyone else other then themselves. A lot of Korean history written in English have low publication numbers due to low demand.

    Samuel Hawley wrote an exhaustive English language monograph on the Imjin War (two Japanese invasions of Chosun Korea) and only sold about 4k copies.

    Personally, I think Korean history is interesting to anyone who dives into it with enough depth. However, not enough people in the English speaking world consider Korea in itself to be all that interesting.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    there is not enough land to memorialize every one

    Sadly true… unless you are a Japanese actress zealot who has has a hankering for a monument on Korean soil… then there is TOO much land and some land should be taken away!

    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201004280371.html

    Damn you Fukumi Kuroda… damn you to hell!

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    slantwise,

    Seems to me that DC is not so much stuffy but white bread boring… I had an ex-gf who lived in McLean, VA… I understand you situation.

    Berkeley and Santa Monica? Seems like you prefer more culturally Bohemian neighborhoods. Those two areas are creations of onerous rent control laws spawning shabby, but relatively safe neighborhoods populated by young college educated people who have a lot of style, but not a lot of money.

  • slim

    McLean, VA is quite Asian these days — a preferred residence for Korean and Japanese expats. While wider Virgina might be “white bread boring”, it has taken in a huge immigrant flow. DC itself is majority black, and quite multi-racial in terms of who works here. I moved to DC 5 years ago after 2 decades in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo and found it a pleasant surprise.

    Of course, much depends of how old you are, your family situation and “how you roll”, but as a childless, divorced 40-something, I find DC and its denizens:
    –certainly not as “cool” as some West Coast cities, but more intellectually substantial, and internationally aware, than say SF or LA.
    –Better than SF and usually LA on any given night for concerts by national-level indie, alt-country, etc non-mainstream rock artists and quirky singer songwriters. New York offers more of that but shows always sell out fast.
    –For its tiny size (population of about 500,000) reasonably well-endowed with restaurants and certainly with free museums and book stores that name authors visit. And then there are the Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese enclave suburbs in VA or MD.
    –Reasonably close (1-2 hours) to decent natural scenery, in the form of Chesapeake/Atlantic coasts and Appalachian Mountains.
    –A good walking city 10-11 months a year
    –The dating scene is rich, at least for men.
    –All 5 major sports have teams here.

    Some drawbacks:
    –It’s more of a campus than it is a “real US city” that has layers of industrial history, grit and friendly, ordinary people. For that, I drive to Baltimore, Pittsburgh or Philly.
    –It lacks the late-night clubbing scene of a New York or LA (not a loss for me, but some here will want that)
    –Lots of boring, pompous lawyers — few as handsome or charming as Brendon Carr (but I guess that’s even worse in New York)
    –Heavy security inconveniences as a result of the VIPs
    –Local government of dubious competence. (Marion Barry effect)
    –Killer commuter traffic (though mild compared to Seoul or LA)

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    slim,

    I hope my comment about the Baltimore-DC-Northern Virginia tri-area strike you as implying that it’s not a nice area to live in. I think when someone is in their late 20′s or early 30′s and single it’s probably a bit boring but for someone like you and me (neither of us are in their early 30′s anymore) it’s a perfectly fine place to live in. The only other knock on the area for me at this point is that the biggest employer is the federal (or state) government and there is a bit of a lack of “artsy-ness” or creativity component to the overall area, IMHO.

  • slim

    I was merely trying to give a fuller picture. I myself had a lot of negative stereotypes about DC — mostly about crime and pointy-headed bureaucrats. Judging DC based on McLean would be like judging Seoul based on Uijongbu.

  • JW

    Too bad most young people nowadays can’t pick and choose where they want to live like you bae-boo-reun old fogies. Heh heh heh.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Hey JW,

    How’s the girl friend search going, huh?

    >:)

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    JW,

    Not being able to pick where you can live is one thing… but still living with mommy in your late 20′s is certainly another… ;)

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I think I might have been slightly wrong… The students might not have even been given firearms at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to fight without until they managed to capture some from North Korean soldiers (so, they would still have had some Japanese rifles). One thing for sure: they probably didn’t have many M1 Garands.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    The Battle of Pohang, being handled primarily by ROK vs. DPRK forces, is not well documented in my only language.

    There’s a good detailed almost day-by-day chronology in the English language edition of the Korea Institute Of Military History’s (the “KIMH”), “The Korean War”, volume 1.

    The American version of history talks primarily about “the bowling alley” fight; but it was the fight in and around Pohang that blunted the eastern column’s spear. Yes, there were desperate fights all along the Pusan Perimeter; but how many were made with kids wearing school uniforms?

    Simply not true, on either count.

    The US (Fehrenbach, Millet) and Anglo (Alexander and Hastings) accounts all deal with not only the “bowling alley” in Tabu-dong, north of Daegu, but with a number of other particularly important Schwerpunkten, including e.g., Waegwan, Masan, etc. etc. The critical importance of those engagements also is acknowledged in the KIMH accounts; just as the “Western” accounts note the importance of the Pohang campaign (while, unsurprisingly, not going into much detail or dwelling on the human interest side of a story in which Western troops were not engaged).

    The KIMH account includes several mentions of student volunteers , including in particular 300 assigned to the ROKA 19th(-) Regiment in reserve at Uihong behind the regular 19th on the Wi-ch’on. But even the KIMH account contains no indication that these students played any especially dispositive role, and it does not mention the Pojan volunteers at all (at least, I couldn’t find any mention of them in the ~1,000 page book that ends with the Allies on the Yalu, before taking up the rest of the war in vol.2).

    I don’t think that means that the KIMH disrespects the service and sacrifice of either group, but simply determined that it is not “historically” significant, regardless of its human significance. One of the reasons that there are war memorials is to honor those who served and whose service may have been humanly and socially important and, in a very attenuated sense “historical”, but which was not strictly speaking especially determinative of events.

    If 71 Into the Fire serves as such a memorial without trivializing important distinctions about what was truly historically significant, good on it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Sperwer, try Googling “Battle for Pohang” and see how many times KIMH shows up…

    This is a case where one needs to know what to look for in order to search for it.

    Hence my contention it is not well-documented.

    I do thank you for the reference material. I will look forward to reading the book.

    However, your German Blitzkrieg reference was really a bit over the top… I’m pretty certain none of the Soviet-trained and equipped Norks would have appreciated the Nazi term, accurate or not (an argument for a different forum).

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    your German Blitzkrieg reference was really a bit over the top… I’m pretty certain none of the Soviet-trained and equipped Norks would have appreciated the Nazi term, accurate or not (an argument for a different forum).

    “Schwerpunkt”? It’s from Clausewitz, nearly a century and a half prior to any blitzkrieg. and was based on an analysis of Napoleonic strategy and tactics.