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Meet the 2013 Sundance Filmmakers #16: Korean Director O Muel Discusses His Black-and-White Dramatic Contender 'Jiseul'

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire January 10, 2013 at 4:0PM

The black-and-white fourth film from Korean director O Muel will make its debut in the World Dramatic Competition.
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The black-and-white fourth film from Korean director O Muel will make its debut in the World Dramatic Competition. 

What it's about: "Jiseul" tells the story of a group of Korean villagers who must hide for sixty days in a cave to protect themselves against soldiers under shoot-to-kill orders in 1948.

What it's really about: "In 1948, as the government issued the communists’ eviction to the Jeju Island, the military invaded a calm and peaceful village. Running away from the military, the townsfolk get into the cave. They try to hide to survive but there seems no hope like the dark cave. As time goes by, people are suffering from severe cold and hunger staying in the cave.

"One day, it still seems nothing changed. And a man who worries about his pigs at home, is trying to get back home to feed them but the rest strictly stop him. With nothing but frustration, people start fall apart debating if they should move to the higher mountain or just stay in the cave."

A still from O Muel's "Jiseul."

How did you come to filmmaking? "I was born in 1971. In addition to working at culture collective Terror J, I am engaged in directing various plays and performances. I am the director of Flowered Hair street festival, a co-director at the Jeju Independent Film Society and artistic director at Japari Research Center.

"I made several feature films so far; and every film is related to my hometown, Jeju Island. and through this 4th feature JISEUL, lots of Jeju residents as well as me look forward to this historical event to be re-considered in Korean history as well as in world history."

Why is this film important for you? "This film is made by the needs of re-consideration for the ineffaceable historical pain in Jeju Island and also by my personal trauma based on my originality."

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on January 17 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Meet the 2013 Sundance Filmmakers, Jiseul