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May 18


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Product Details

  • Actors: Sang-kyung Kim, Yu-won Lee, Tae-won Kwon, Jun-ki Lee, Jae-ho Sung
  • Directors: Ji-hun Kim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003EGWJB0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,621 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Having lost his parents at a young age, Min-woo takes care of his younger brother Jin-woo much like a father would. He harbors a secret crush on Shin-ae, a nurse he meets at a church gathering, and persuades her to go on a date with him to the movies. But not long after the film begins, they hear the sound of sirens and are rushed out of the theater. Outside they find chaos in the streets: Tear gas dances wildly and soldiers mobilized for crowd control have taken to violent beatings. Bewildered and enraged, the citizens form a militia, determined to protect the ones they love - and Min-woo finds himself in the middle of it all.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan Friesen on September 13, 2010
Format: DVD
The film is the film; others have reviewed it, and you can find more info about it elsewhere. This particular DVD is given to us in 4:3, with the 16:9 original picture boxed inside the full frame. This wouldn't be so terrible except that the subtitles are hardcoded. So, if you have a widescreen TV, you have two choices: watch the film in full 4:3 mode, with black bars at the top, bottom, and both sides of the picture; or zoom in on your TV and lose the subtitles. Makes this particular DVD useless except for those who know Korea, and if you know Korean than you've probably already gotten the R3 disk from Korea.

Some transfers, like Madeo, are great. Others, like this one, are terrible. Avoid this DVD. Film's okay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jared M on September 1, 2010
Format: DVD
The events of May 18, 1980 was a seminal moment in South Korean history. For much of its modern history, South Korea had been in the grip of a military dictatorship, and the recent coup by General Chun Doo-hwan on 12 December 1979 following the assassination of President Park (as depicted in the excellent film The President's Last Bang) led to general unease in the country, particularly amongst its youth. The unrest exploded into demonstrations by students in Gwangju on May 17 when the government closed the University. This led to a civilian uprising, exacerbated by student fatalities when armed police fired on protesters. Gwangju was cordoned off, and after 10 days, Chun sent in the Korean army to rout the protesters, who had by then formed an armed militia. After a 90 minute battle, the army restored government control of the city, in what is now called the Gwangju Massacre. Although there were a number of civilian deaths (estimates range from 150 to 2000 deaths amongst the civilians), the events in Gwangju ultimately set in motion the shift in the Korean leadership from a military dictatorship to a fully fledged democracy.

"May 18" is a fictionalised account of the civilian uprising in Gwangju. The events are largely seen through the eyes of Min-woo, a taxi driver living in Gwangju with his younger brother Jin-woo. Jin-woo (played by Lee Jun-ki of the "The King and the Clown") is a student . Veteran Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki (Nowhere to Hide, Arahan, Last Witness) plays the father of Min-woo's love interest, who ultimately takes leadership of the militia. Although he does not desire any involvement, Min-woo becomes part of the militia as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorita Ling-Huei Tsai on August 23, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great film to understand Korea's recent history as a foreigner, if you follow the perspective of an ordinary Korean. I really like the taxi driver who used to mind his own business and later became a hero to protect his people's rights. This transformation was very well performed by Mr. Kim Sang-Kyung.

I am also deeply moved that Korean actresses and actors are willing to take part of this film and to speak out what they believe. When actors, like Mr. Kim Sang-Kyung, could act so well, they wouldn't have to pretend to be politically neutral to please everyone.

I would also recommend another film "Formosa Betrayed" portraying Taiwan people's struggles of democracy and human rights under the martial law during the 1980's, the same period of time as "May 18". This is a very entertaining film, starring James Van Der Beek as a FBI agent. And he has really done great since I watched "Dawson's Creek" 10+ years ago.

These two films together would help people know more about Asian countries' road to democracy in the 1980's.
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