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sky-blue hometown

The Korean artist Shin Sun-nam lives in Uzbekistan. For 33 years, he worked behind closed doors, invisible to the KGB, on his magnum opus: Requiem, an enormous painting in which he incorporated all the anger about the fate of the Koreans under Stalin. The people on the painting are surrounded by tombs and are faceless, because they were treated as slaves and had no identity. For more than 150 years, Russia has had many Korean immigrants; particularly after 1910, many Koreans fled their country due to the Japanese oppression. After 1937, between 170,000 and 200,000 Koreans living in Russia were forced to migrate to Central Asia. Many men were accused of spying for the Japanese, while they were precisely utterly opposed against Japanese imperialism and often joined partisan groups. It was not uncommon that they were sentenced without a trial, survivors explain. Shin Sun-nam, whose Russian name is Nikolai Sergevich, was nine years old when this forced migration took place. In his studio, he tells about this period and the way in which he captured the dreadful circumstances in Requiem, a piece of art that he dedicated not only to the Russian Koreans, but to all minorities of the world. In 1997, Shin donated the painting to the Korean Museum of Contemporary Art, but since then the work has been hidden away in one of their storage rooms.

Kim So-young: directing debut

South Korea, 2001
colour / black and white, 35mm, 93 min

IDFA 2001
Joris Ivens Competitie

Director: Kim So-young
Production: Cine-Maya
Screenplay: Kim So-young
Photography: Nikolay Gerasimov
Editing: Kim So-young
Sound: Won-jong Soh
Music: Duck Hyun, Jun-sung Kim, Young-jo Lee
World Sales: Cine-Maya
Screening copy: Korean Film Commission

ha-neol-sack go-hyang
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