103 minutes, 35mm, in Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Hong Gi-Seon
Starring: Kim Jung-Gi, Ahn Seok-Hwan, Go Dong-Eub
In 1951, at the age of 25, Kim Son-Myong (Kim Jung-Gi), walked into prison. 45 years later, at the age of 70, he walked out again having served the longest prison sentence on record. His crime? He had joined the North Korean Army. Captured by UN troops and turned over to the anti-Communist South Koreans, he became a prisoner of war and was sentenced to death. His death sentence was commuted to life in prison (in violation of the Geneva Convention) and throughout the four decades (21 years of which were spent in solitary confinement) Kim refused to denounce Communism, or admit that he had committed a crime by being a member of the North Korean Army.
In the 1970's, when the South Korean government promised leniency to prisoners who disavowed Communism, prison wardens turned to torture in an attempt to ensure converts to democracy. Beaten and humiliated, watching his North Korean comrades suffer and die, and watching his jailers turn gray with him, Kim sticks to his belief that he has no crime to confess, and so the years turn into decades as he wastes away in prison. Humane and compassionate, this film by director Hong Gi-Seon bears witness to the crimes that have been committed in the name of National Security and democracy. Ending with wrenching footage of the real Kim Son-Myong finally leaving prison, THE ROAD TAKEN took eight years to make due to the difficulty of raising money for a project that doesn't toe the party line when it comes to South Korean politics; and yet, with its sympathy for both the prisoners and their jailers, whose lives were also deformed by politics, it could never play in North Korea, either.
This is only the second feature film for Director Hong, whose first feature film, about the Gwangju Massacre, was released in 1992.
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Added by nyckorea on May 24, 2004