Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rekomendasi Korea Indonesia Film Festival 2014 : Roaring Currents

Keywords: naval battle, korea, japan, historical
Audience: PG-13
Violent content: lots of blood, beheaded heads
Sexual content: none

See Roaring Currents in Korea Indonesia Film Festival (October 23rd-28th, 2014)

I went to see Roaring Currents last night. It's a great movie about a legendary naval battle (South Korea vs Japan, 1597, find out more) with the Korean fleet led by Admiral Yi Sun Sin (Choi Min Sik). Somewhere in the middle of the movie I fell asleep (too much drama about whining soldiers), but the naval battle was so captivating. Admiral Yi is a beast, yet the movie pictures him very humanly. My favorite part is how the movie theme, "loyalty", gets wrapped up nicely in the end.

Admiral Yi was a leader prone to disobey order. Although he always did it to protect Joseon Kingdom, the chancellor was angered and sent him for torture. Soon the raging war required everyone to stand up for Joseon and Yi was once again an admiral. And once again, instead of following the chancellor's order, Yi led his fleet to do what he thought as imminent: to protect Myeongnyang Strait. He calculated, and later his spy confirmed, that a large Japan fleet was coming. "To give up on sea is to give up on land," said Yi (more or less). Being outnumbered by far, Yi's soldiers were full of doubt. Fear spread like virus while the enemy was approaching fast.


I've warned you about spoilers, okay?

There is an important scene when Yi is consulted by his son about the fear that had been spreading among the soldiers. How can Yi win the war when the soldiers' moral is at its lowest? The answer occurred at the end of the movie.

During the battle, there were times when I thought, "Yi is dead! It's over for him!" Yet he always survived with his strength or with the help of his men. Now you might think this is excessive and cheesy. But Yi actually put his life on the line to lure the enemy and to boost his men's spirit. Seeing how Yi and his men impossibly survived their attacks, the enemies failed to make better decisions. Even the other enemy leader, who had been watching the battle, feared of Yi and fled.

Back to the question that Yi's son challenged a few days prior to the battle, Yi's anwer was, more or less, "To use the fear itself." He used the fear that engulfed his men. He used the fear that he had planted in his enemy's mind years ago. That is how he changed the whining soldiers into daredevils.

Now, before you reserve the ticket for Roaring Currents in Korean Film Festival, I have one more thing to say. Beware of one specific couple in the movie: a brave soldier and a mute woman. They'll break your heart.

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