The following is a translated summary of a report from the local press. It has been edited for clarity, including the addition of links and information needed for readers unfamiliar with Jeju. — Ed.
The black and white independent film “Jiseul,” (directed by O Muel) has won in the dramatic section of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 29th Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 26, the most prestigious independent film festival in the world. The film, which deals with the 1948 April 3rd Massacre on Jeju, gets its title from the Jeju dialect word for “potatoes,” often the only food the survivors of the massacre had as they fled for their lives from soldiers.
From the Sundance Festival Program:
“Set during the 1948 Jeju Massacre in Korea, Jiseul tells the story of some 120 villagers who hid in a cave for 60 days from soldiers who were under shoot-to-kill orders. They suffer from severe cold and hunger but retain their sanity by making jokes and holding on to the hope that their wait is almost over. Eventually their endurance wanes, and fear begins to test the group’s mettle.”
In his video acceptance speech, director O said he wanted to “…share the [glory and] honor with the people of Jeju Island.” — Halla Ilbo