I hadn’t seen a dubbed foreign film since…well, for a long time.
That is, until I watched “J.S.A.” (Joint Security Area) my final semester of college for a Korean Film and Politics course.
A 2000 film about North and South Korean conflict, it was set at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), where soldiers face each other across a small divide.
As you can imagine, this was a pretty serious and tense film -though the secret friendship between four North and South soldiers did provide some comic relief-.
However, I could not take it seriously, no matter how hard I tried.
Even the people who spoke English in the film were dubbed!
The worst part was…every single dubbed voice was American.
Rather poor taste considering that the U.S. basically engineered the division of Korea in the first place!
Most of the time, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. So I settled for that kind of weird giggle that pops out in awkward situations.
Oh America, what were you thinking?
On the bright side, if you ever feel an overwhelming desire to see a North Korean soldier with a distinctly Midwestern accent, this is the film to watch.
Despite that though, it was a great film.
I even teared up at the end *Hint: it has something to do with the photograph above*.
But for the record, I saw the ending outside of class.
Watch it if you get a chance, but for the sake of Korean history and your ears, choose subtitles!