14th DMZ Docs(2022)
I AM DOCU
Kum's paternal grandfather was dispatched to Leyte in the Philippines as a Japanese soldier. Many Koreans were also drafted to the frontline of the Japanese invasion during World War Two. Also other many Koreans were enslaved as a laborer in coal mines, railroads, or any other place. General Douglas MacArthur re-landed onto Leyte to "liberate" the Philippines from Japanese occupation. Leyte residents suffered very much under two occupation forces, US and Japanese. Kum heard a story that the Korean soldiers at that time commit the cruelest atrocities as Japanese soldiers. Since her grandfather died long ago, she could not ask him about that time. Thus, Kum retraced his path.
Leyte is an island in the Philippines where the largest naval battle in the Pacific War, which Japan started, took place. In 1944, the US forces led by General Douglas MacArthur collaborated with guerrillas in the Philippines to drive out the Japanese forces occupying the island. After a fierce battle, 90 percent of the Japanese were killed or died of starvation, and Japan faced a humiliating defeat. The film walks into a complex history that cannot be explained solely by the story of winners and losers. During the Pacific War, the author's grandfather was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army and dispatched to the Philippines. And the Filipinos who remember the Battle of Leyte testify that the Korean soldiers were more brutal than the Japanese. The film views the history of author herself and that of Zainichi Koreans within the history Asia, and the blurred line between perpetrators and victims, where she stands.
Soni Kum is a multimedia artist who works in film and video, installation, performance. Her work has been featured in art spaces and film festivals around the world such as Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany and UK.