Lee, a UCLA graduate who is now Korea's leading art-film distributor, excavates two histories (one domestic, one national) from the time of the Korean War. The story unfolds in discrete episodes, shot in wide angle, each prefaced with a caption counterpointing events in one village with off-screen affairs of state. Sung-Min's father (Ahn, excellent as ever) is the first villager to find lucrative work at a nearby US Army base, because his daughter Young-Sook is the first local to date a GI. But Sung-Min and his best friend Chang-Hee discover that dad's services to the Americans include pimping for local women - including Chang-Hee's mother. The parallels between the ensuing tragedies and the fate of South Korea in the early 1950s remain tantalisingly elusive, but Lee directs both kids and adults with real insight and captures the flavour of distant childhood memories with some precision.
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