Manse for Chollywood!
'5 Guerrilla Brothers'
(1972)

Synopsis and analysis to a North Korean Feature Film about a anti Japanese forces and the creation of the DPRK.

Winner of the People’s Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to cultural products in the DPRK, this film is one of the most significant movies produced by the Pyongyang film industry. Created explicitly with the aim to '…put spurs on the making of many revolutionary masterpieces which would greatly help in the revolutionary education of people' this movie (released in 3 parts) leads the viewer through the most momentous events at the height of the revolutionary Guerrilla army, led by future-President Kim Il Sung, in their campaign against the Japanese occupational forces in the mountains of the far north of the Korean peninsular.

Best seen as a dramatized history lesson; 5 Guerrilla Brothers features such pivotal events in the creation of the DPRK as the shift from guerrilla warfare to more conventional forms of combat (the battle of Pochonbo being the first time the guerrilla army made a frontal attack on a Japanese base – and gave its name to the Pochonbo Electronic Dance Ensemble; DPRK’s long-running and well loved light music beat combo), the establishment of the mountain-based anti-Japanese forces as the legitimate heirs to the land after the defeat of the Japanese (by showing their rock-solid revolutionary credentials), and establishing Kim Il Sung as the leader of this movement and thus the only man for the job of taking control of the country after the withdrawal of the occupational forces. Although Kim Il Sung is not directly portrayed in the film he is present in the symbolism of the movie; specifically in a scene featuring a sunrise (Kim Il Sung is considered to be the ‘sun’ of the nation who casts light where there was darkness before his leadership existed, and in the growth of revolutionary spirit of the 5 titular brothers and their fellow patriots in the mountains.

This revolutionary film, a trilogy, delineates a part of the history of the difficult anti-Japanese armed struggle led by the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.

Historic events and incidents which took place in the anti-Japanese armed struggle between 1933 and the spring of 1939 such as the struggle for building guerrilla bases and defending them, the first campaign to north Manchuria, the formation of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, the struggle for the establishment of a new-type base on Mt. Paektu, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army’s sally into the homeland, the historic victory in the Pochonbo battle and the arduous march, are represented in great style. The film is highly acclaimed for its truthful portrayal of the five brothers of O Jun Hyok. Under the wise guidance and amid the warm love of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, they join the revolutionary struggle and grow up in the course of the revolution to be revolutionaries of a Juche type who are ready to lay down their lives to defend and safeguard the great leader politically and ideologically.

From the book, Korean Film Art – published in 1985 by Korean Film Export Import Corporation

See below for Part I.

And Part II.

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