A very significant North Korean movie produced by the Pyongyang film industry and winner of the People’s Prize. This is one of the most prestigious awards given to cultural products in the country.
Directed by Choe Ik Gyu and overseen Kim Jong Il himself.
Choe became the head of the Korean Film Studio in 1956 at age 22!
He is responsible for North Korean movie classics such as Flower Girl and Sea of Blood, now known as ‘immortal classics’. He is also acknowledged for his contribution to the development of the mass games.
As Kim Jong Il explained, this was created explicitly with the aim to
“…put spurs on the making of many revolutionary masterpieces which would greatly help in the revolutionary education of people”
This North Korean movie (released in 3 parts) leads the viewer through the most momentous events at the height of the revolutionary Guerilla army, led by future-President Kim Il Sung, in their campaign against the Japanese occupational forces in the mountains of the far north of the Korean peninsula.
Best seen as a dramatized history lesson, 5 Guerilla Brothers features pivotal events in the creation of North Korea. This includes the shift from guerilla warfare to more conventional forms of combat and the establishment of the mountain-based anti-Japanese forces as the legitimate heirs to the land after the defeat of the Japanese. As well as establishing Kim Il Sung as the leader of this movement and thus the only man for the job of taking control of the country after the withdrawal of the occupational forces.
Although Kim Il Sung is not directly portrayed in the film, he is present in the symbolism of the movie. Specifically, in a scene featuring a sunrise. Kim Il Sung is the ‘sun’ of the nation who casts light where there was darkness before his leadership existed. Also, in the growth of the revolutionary spirit of the 5 titular brothers and their fellow patriots in the mountains.
Standard design based around the focus on one of the stoic ‘brothers’ and the use of fore and background images.
This North Korea poster is coloured so as to give the feeling of a cold winter. A ghostly silhouette of the 5 brothers tied to the sacred Mount Paektu the birthplace of the revolution (and the Korean people).
This revolutionary film, a trilogy, delineates a part of the history of the difficult anti-Japanese armed struggle led by the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.
Historic events and incidents which took place in the anti-Japanese armed struggle between 1933 and the spring of 1939 such as the struggle for building guerilla bases and defending them, the first campaign to north Manchuria, the formation of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, the struggle for the establishment of a new-type base on Mt. Paektu, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army’s sally into the homeland, the historic victory in the Pochonbo battle and the arduous march, are represented in great style.
The film is highly acclaimed for its truthful portrayal of the five brothers of O Jun Hyok. Under the wise guidance and amid the warm love of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, they join the revolutionary struggle and grow up in the course of the revolution to be revolutionaries of a Juche type who are ready to lay down their lives to defend and safeguard the great leader politically and ideologically.
From the book, Korean Film Art – published in 1985 by Korean Film Export-Import Corporation
The battle of Pochonbo was reportedly the first time the guerilla army made a frontal attack on a Japanese base. It gave its name to the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble. This is one of the countries light-music beat combo.
Listen to your heart’s content here.