May 26, 2018

From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.: Night Battles

Are you living your best life? Apparently, the soldiers in the DPKR army are. They're constantly laughing, singing, and living each days with a sense of purpose and devotion. Skeptical? Well, that's understandable. For what are they laughing at? A theatrical spotlight that's been sent to their camp and to which they react with complete joyous bewilderment. What are they singing about? An eagle that will bring them news from home. What are they devoted to? War. And their leader. Who they love. And can you blame them on this last count? The American president Eisenhower has been bombing their country and working to rally the world's forces against them so great is his distaste for communism. They've got an allegiance to the communists though because that's who freed them from Japanese occupation. So what's the answer? At this point, I couldn't say. But in From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., a North Korean officer with a heart ailment is willing to give up his (happy) life if that's what it takes to resist the capitalist forces. So is his sharpshooter daughter who's arrived just in time for a birthday celebration. So is the doctor who served as a commanding officer earlier in her illustrious career.

North Korea makes a disproportionate number of war pics when you compare their cinematic output to other countries and within this genre, director Kim Yu-san's From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. distinguishes itself because of some unexpectedly artful touches in the editing. A tragic battle that takes place on a train is chopped up by shots of the locomotive wheels to dramatic effect; a deathbed moment gets an otherworldly look via its use of deeply saturated red and blue lighting. There's also some sly social commentary here too as the American military heads are shown giving press conferences full of bravado even as their enemies up North are about to "shower a fire of revenge." You may recognize one of the men on the American side in particular: James Joseph Dresnok, the United States Private First Class who defected to North Korea and found a new life as a movie star of sorts — albeit one who always played villains. You can learn more about him in the documentary Crossing the Line.

No comments:

Post a Comment