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From The Korea War to Gangnam Style comes: Ode to My Father


Ode to My Father’s child protagonist shines the shoes of a man in formal suit. The man proclaims his plans to build a shipyard and make money by selling ships to potential overseas buyers. He leaves after his driver calls his name, “Mr Chung,” and is driven away on a truck marked Hyundai ConstructionThe child asserts the man is crazy, claiming he would do better making domestic cars.

The vast majority of the audience started to inquire, chatter and smile among themselves. 

This scene from the film describes its make or break attitude towards its audience. Either they get it or they don’t.

The film places high values of sentimentality on its audiences through a barrage of unbelievable, yet reminiscent sequences of events.

The story is told through the eyes of an average shopkeeper who had to mature just a little bit sooner than others his age.

Having survived the evacuation to Busan during the Korean War, Deok-soo (played by Hwang Jung-min) is thrust into the role of head of his household, entrusted to him by his father from whom he was separated.

He fights the obligatory post-war conflict of survival as he tries to provide for his family in an industrialising nation full of high risk, high reward opportunities.

From K-pop to smartphones, Korea has been more prominent on a global stage than its two Asian cousins, China and Japan. It has become common place to rate Korea as one of the top cultural and industrial powerhouse of recent times thanks to Gangnam Style, SNSD, Rain to Samsung’s, LG’s, Hyundai’s – and yes maybe The Interview and North Korea.

The real merit in all of its achievements is the short time and resources the nation needed to reach its current status.

Ode to My Father is a film of South Korea’s history on an emotional level but also a message to foreigners on its humble beginnings.

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