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Ode to My Father Film Review

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Kara Schwartz
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Ode to My Father Film Review

Ode to My Father although it has a few cinematic flaws, which is silly to go into because the film itself for its meaning, how it makes you feel the pain of the protagonist and his family, and the way the camera speaks to you about loss and through images helps the viewer realize the immensity of the loss during the Korean war. The loss of family is juxtaposed with the importance of family. The victories are frequent too, but as Deok soo says toward the last scene as he prays and speaks with his father, he says, "Father it was so hard, so hard." The hardship and the victories (when he finds his long lost sister) are immense and constant throughout the film. The film works on telling both your heart and your mind a story. The film also serves as a sweeping history of North and South Korea during the Korean War and up to almost current times (the 90s). Through Deok Soo, we also see how after escaping North Korea, as a young man Deok travels to Germany to work in a coal mine along with many other Koreans who needed money for their families.  Later, he will join the army and serve in the Vietnam War as an ally to the US. This brings us to the films possible flaws. Because we see the film through the protagonist's eyes, we see his heroism and the heroism of his fellow soldiers saving Vietnamese families. We also see a Vietnamese child saved in a way that in the Korean war Deok Soon's father could not save his daughter. I am sure that there were heroic acts by the Koreans during the Vietnamese war, but the narrative does take any note of the atrocities committed by the Korean soldiers. This troubled me a bit. Also, much like how the movie Forrest Gump had a soundtrack to the Vietnam War, there were moments of humor during this part of the film. It was needed as the movie was very serious and sad, but it seemed a little out of place during the Vietnam War.. The camera work was incredible at times; especially in the scene when they show Korean families from both Koreas searching for loved ones lost in the war. The camera moves over the posters with the missing peoples names, and then pans back, and the viewers see the enormity of the loss!

This film or sections of this film will be very useful in class. We will be doing a Unit on the governments and contemporary issues of both governments, and this could be a great way to explain the war and Korean history in a timeline. This movie is an epic, and I will be using this in the classroom.