August 09, 2013

National Security (2012)

National Security (2012)
Directed by: Jeong Ji-yeong
Country: South Korea

Review: “National Security” uncovers a very dark side in South Korea’s history, addressing the tortures that were inflicted to innocent people when they became suspects of conspiring against their country in favor of North Korea’s communism. The film was based on the memoir by Kim Geun-tae, a democratic activist who was kidnapped and tortured for 23 days under the orders of the gruesome police inspector Lee Geun-an. The film basically consists in showing meticulously the techniques of torture and the sufferings and traumas caused on a human being. This is extremely uncomfortable; so if you don’t have stomach for strong content, don’t watch it because it may disturb you. The tortures involve beatings, sleep/food deprivation, water torture, and electric shocks. I believe that the film would have benefited if the interviews with the real victims of torture presented in the end, were intercalated along the story. Increasing Kim’s life scenes from the past, and dreams involving his family, were other possibilities to make “National Security” a somewhat lighter experience. In one side, we have to praise the courage to denounce these harrowing practices, but on the other side, we have a film that, in 90% of its content, only shows us pain, agony, and fear, in a repetitive way. I wonder if all these explicit images were truly necessary. Lying or not lying, the result was always cruelty, and in the end, even I felt ready to confess anything in order to stop witnessing those distressing and fatiguing atrocities.

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