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Inside the DMZ

Year: 2015, 52 mins
Code: IC-Inside

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This film suggests to look in an unusual way at the division of Korea by focussing on the demilitarised zone between North and South. The DMZ as it is abbreviated roughly follows the 38th Parallel on a 4 km large strip, cutting the peninsula in two halves from West to East on a distance of 250 kilometres. Since the end of the Korean War (1953) is represents the Korean division both symbolically and in the real world.

What is very special in this context is that, for the very first time, a team of non-military observers has received the authorization to penetrate the DMZ. As we accompany these scientists, researchers, writers, journalists, we will be very attentive to discover with them some of the secrets it contains. Such as, a long tunnel build into the rock by the North with the intention to infiltrate the South, or related to the South, a barracks specialised in healing the young conscripts, guards of the Southern watch towers, who need psychological assistance after staring each day for six long hours at the Northern watch tower opposite them. Or maybe these mass graves, only discovered now, full of remains of victims of the Korean War. Or even this surprising royal palace belonging to an ancient, long forgotten Korean King...

But beyond the unusual discoveries, the inquisitive approach of the civil observers will reveal to us an unsuspected reality: it is difficult to ascertain with certainty, but it seems that the military in charge of the DMZ on both sides are doing everything they can to keep the DMZ alive, and even promote its longevity. If this is true, how can Peace be brought about? Peace that would necessarily imply for the DMZ to disappear? Yet, it seems urgent to bring to an end an intolerable situation that has lasted already more than 60 years! The solutions that brought about reunifications in Vietnam and in Germany cannot be applied to Korea. The stakes are high, and the regional alliances are a complex game of geopolitics. But maybe, just as in this journey of civilians inside the DMZ, a strong civil movement, on both sides of the DMZ, could be the solution?

A film by Leong Youl-Gyoung; 
Written by Michel Noll; 
Produced by Lim Huyn Chan & Michel Noll

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