Film / Joint Security Area

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Joint Security Area (JSA) is a film by acclaimed Korean director Park Chan Wook. It centered around an investigation by United Nations officials of a fatal shooting incident that occurred in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. When released, it was the highest-grossing Korean film of all time.


The film contains examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: The movie starts after the shoot-out has taken place, then in its middle tells the story behind it and eventually takes up the first narrative level.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Sung-shik, who is initially another unimportant guard; after attempting suicide, he is revealed to have been sneaking over the border too, and to be the second shooter.
  • Driven to Suicide: Both South Korean soldiers: Sung-shik throws himself out of the window when threatened with a lie-detector test; and Soo-hyeok shoots himself after explaining everything.
  • Faux Fluency: The United Nations investigator unraveling the mystery at the DMZ is a Korean actress who obviously learned her English lines phonetically. Later versions completely dubbed her lines with a native English speaker.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The friendship between the soldiers will end badly.
  • Framing Device: The main story is told in a series of flashbacks as the UN investigator tries to find out the truth about a murder.
  • Overcrank: Done for aesthetic purposes in the shoot-out at the end.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Though there is also a great deal of additional investigation besides the interrogations.
  • Shown Their Work: With a highly accurate recreation of the Joint Security Area. As of 2015, the JSA set still stands.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The famed "Bridge of No Return".
  • Translation Convention: The Swiss and Swedish members of the United Nations stationed in Korea speak English instead of Korean or their native language. A Swiss character of Korean nationality speaks English with a heavy Korean accent rather than a Swiss one.

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