Lee Chang-dong on Writing and Filmmaking

In this week’s story, “Snowy Day,” a non-public is on sentry duty with his superior, a corporal, when, as the title implies, it begins snowing. Why did you choose this scenario as the basis for a story?

Koreans have a tendency to settle for the to start with snow of winter as a welcome and auspicious matter. Back again in the days when there were no cell phones and folks were much more uncomfortable in expressing their emotions than they are now, young persons, when they requested another person they liked on a date, would say, “Let’s satisfy on the working day of the 1st snow.” Then they’d excitedly wait for the very first snow, pondering if the other man or woman would truly clearly show up. So you could say that this tale is also about a date that did not come genuine on the first snowy day.

On the other hand, all grownup males in Korea are needed to provide in the navy, so some of the details in “Snowy Day” are dependent on my have activities in the army in the late nineteen-seventies. For instance, the memory of serving as a sentry one particular night in the course of a large snowfall encouraged me to generate the story. Anything in my subject of eyesight was protected in white, in snow, and only barbed wire remained. Another soldier and I were guarding that barbed wire like actors onstage in an absurdist play. And, ironically, there was an invisible barbed-wire fence concerning the two of us that could under no circumstances be crossed.

Non-public Kim was a scholar prior to enlisting, and he appears singularly sick-suited to military services lifestyle, while Corporal Choi labored in a bathhouse and appears to have a a lot more durable skin. How critical is the query of class in the story? Does it shade each and every detail of their interaction?

During the many years of speedy financial growth below the armed forces dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan, which lasted from the early nineteen-sixties to the late nineteen-eighties, the group that led the struggle for democratization in Korea was college learners. So, in that regard, you could say that the social situation of remaining a faculty university student in Korea at the time of the story’s environment was exclusive. In bad rural families, daughters were despatched to work in factories in the metropolitan areas to receive funds, and sons were being despatched to school to review. College college students at that time experienced a self-aware recognition of the point that they researched at the expenditure of their lousy mothers and fathers and their sisters who were doing the job for lower wages. If they protested and resisted the dictatorship, that was partly since they experienced the innocence of young people who are sensitive to social injustice, but also mainly because they had a feeling of that credit card debt and their need to have to symbolize the voices of the inadequate. (That is why it is stunning to see youthful folks nowadays in South Korea becoming so politically conservative.) Personal Kim, Corporal Choi, and the checking out female worker in “Snowy Day” are all characters who exist in this kind of a class framework. Personal Kim, who entered the military with the idealism of standing up for the individuals, now meets the true “people” experience to confront.

Outside the primary guard article to the foundation, there are signs like “Crush Them from the Start” and “Exterminate Communism!” Does “Crush Them from the Start” refer to South Korea’s Communist enemies? Could it as effortlessly be a description of what is going on in the foundation?

Of training course, the Communism to be crushed refers to North Korea. Big slogans like these are however posted at South Korean armed service bases, not only to raise the battling spirit in soldiers but also to encourage ideological hostility. Through army regimes, slogans like these could generally be witnessed on city streets as nicely as on navy bases. Now those people slogans have disappeared from the streets, but they continue to be inside of people’s minds.

The Korean Peninsula, divided into North and South, is the only area in the entire world the place the Cold War program remains intact, and South Korea is nonetheless a region in which McCarthyist arguments are openly circulated by politicians. In J. M. Coetzee’s novel “Waiting for the Barbarians,” the condition makes imaginary barbarians outdoors its borders in order to rule internally, using worry, but in Korea a true enemy armed with nuclear weapons exists just across the border (and, in some ways, they often act like “barbarians”), even as the state makes an inner enemy. What I attempted to depict in “Snowy Day” is an unique who attempts to guard human dignity even in these a brutal technique and problem, probably recklessly.

The story opens with the arrival of a younger girl who is asking to see Private Kim. As the story unfolds, we learn that she and Private Kim achieved when she frequented the foundation with her choir on a morale-boosting mission. This is the closest he’s ever appear to a date. Do you want this experience to truly feel romantic? Or does it get on the solid of romance retroactively?

The scene of the morale-booster effectiveness at the Base Church was fully primarily based on what I noticed in the army. Though I tailored the parts essential for the enhancement of the story, I attempted to re-develop it as I witnessed it, as a great deal as attainable, and I did not embellish or incorporate spices to make it truly feel intimate. As it is an unadorned tale, the episode, which feels practical and somewhat preposterous at the similar time, does not even fulfill Corporal Choi, who was anticipating an attention-grabbing adore story. Having said that, there was one thing poignant about that episode, just as I felt when I initial witnessed it, and whilst I was composing the story I hoped that it would convey to the reader the attractiveness that lies at the middle of the story of this brutal armed forces foundation.

A soldier at a foundation on the coast was not too long ago rewarded for his “one shot, a person kill” marksmanship immediately after he shot a feasible intruder—that intruder turned out to be a seal. Corporal Choi appears to be as bring about-joyful. Why is he so eager to use his rifle? Is it inevitable that he will?