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The May 18 Pro-Democracy Movement as Portrayed in Films
  • By Shin Min-joo, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2021.06.07 08:49
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The 18th of this month was the 41st anniversary of the May 18th pro-democracy movement. What is the background of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement? It took place on May 18, 1980, to condemn the conspiracy of soldiers. such as No Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan, who were trying to take power, and the movement also fought for democracy against dictatorship. The rally and demonstrations were a large-scale popular movement involving students from Chonnam National University, Chosun University, and media companies. Through the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Movement and the June Democratic Movement, the law to directly elect the president for a five-year term was revised and democracy was restored. In 1995, the "Special Act on the May 18 Democratic Movement" was enacted and legal punishments were imposed on many perpetrators, including former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and No Tae-woo, but there are still forces trying to disparage the bereaved families and distort historical facts. As a result, reasonable punishment and judgment should be made according to the facts at the time. Flims have been made about this incident, remembering the May 18 Democratic Movement, which had a great impact on today's democratic society.

▲ The poster of the movie "In the Name of My Son.“

The first film, "In the Name of My Son," was released on May 12 this year. The movie is about Oh Chae-geun, the main character who lost his son due to the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement, and who wants to avenge his son's death. Oh Chae-geun tried to punish all those responsible at the time, but those responsible were still living a well-off life, while the victims of the incident at that time dealt with the reality of living a hard life every day. Socrates says, "A life without reflection is not worth living." This phrase is often used in movies. It makes people realize the true nature of reflecting on those who have brutally exterminated citizens and live without a hint of remorse, and it supports responsibility for wrongdoing.

▲The Poster of the movie '26 Years'.

The second movie about the movement is '26 Years'. The movie depicts three people who have something in common, the sons or daughters of those killed by the May 18 pro-democracy movement, seeking revenge on Chun Doo-hwan 26 years later. The movie is based on Kang Pul's webtoon. The fact that it can be understood easily through animation, and that it is dealt with in a realistic way by making it a movie, makes it easier to deeply relate to the history of the May 18 pro-democracy movement and its pain.

The films presented tell the story of the victims and their bereaved families. It’s important to recognize the horrors of the situation at the time and the importance of democracy that many now take for granted. It is clear that the democratization of the Republic of Korea was realized by the May 18 pro-democracy movement, and insufficient punishment and judgment of the majority of perpetrators are still issues to be concerned about. Through these films, it helps everyone learn more about the pro-democracy movement and just how meaningful it was.

By Shin Min-joo, cub-reporter  pinky3167@naver.com

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