I just watched this korean movie called 《逆權司機》, A Taxi Driver. I cried. I fucking cried. No is not those “oh oppa I love you please dont leave me” nor “oh i got cancer and I still have a daughter to take care of”. It is a movie based on true historic events, about political oppression, cruel dictatorship, untrue news, and a bunch of normal, everyday people you will meet fighting for justice. Ok the way I describe sound like those over-the-top heroic war film. But it is not. The protagonist is just an politically apathetic ugly taxi-driver uncle who worked his ass off in Seoul to pay his ends. Who cursed at those university students rallying, affecting his work. Who didn’t care about what ever democracy and whatever justice. He just wanted his daughter to be well. And one day this german reporter, who also just worked his ass off for money, wanted to hire a driver to drive him to 光州 to find out the truth. In the 80s when we had no facebook live, the dictatorial government just shut the whole province out. Nobody, except those there, knew what happened. Not knowing how dangerous the job was, this ugly taxi driver snatched the job from his fellow driver because it paid well. And when they were there, they found out the whole province was a war zone. Hundreds died, thousands injured, all 平民百姓, under the guns of the military. What wrong did the people do? Nothing much. They just gathered, shouted slogans and sing, wanting a more democratic system. But the dictatorship thought this was the worst violence the people could offer. So tanks just drove over the bodies.
Sound too dramatic too be true, but this is real history. In Korea, where it is now best known for Gangnam Style and Big Bang. Anyway in the beginning of the movie there was a establishing shot of 80s Seoul, and it looked so different from what I know. And there was also a contrasting shot of Tokyo (the german reporter was originally based in Tokyo) in the 80s, to show exactly how undeveloped Seoul was back then. This is kind of a shock for me, because this was just in the 80s, it is not too far back. Not like is during WWII or whatsoever, it is just the 80s. And how far the place has come, judging from the end of the movie, with another establishing shot of 2016 Seoul.
But what really makes me cry is that some of the scenes kind of reminded me of 2014 Hong Kong. Like people just gathering and singing, fighting for what we think is right. Though no tanks drove over us, but hey, who knows this wouldn’t happen. Look at Tiananmen Square, similar incident. Students rallying, tanks drove and shoot, people dying, and the government pretended nothing had happened. The only difference between 光州事件 and 6.4 is that the korean government admitted the whole saga later on. And they can make a movie out of it in 2017, but 6.4 is still a taboo word and you can’t Baidu it at all. The Tiananmen students died in vain.
What I liked about this movie is that the characters are very real. Originally the driver really didn’t care, and got angry at the reporter for brining him to such a dangerous place. The reporter was also pissed at what a money sucking cheater the taxi driver is. (Those scenes were kind of funny.) The taxi driver even escaped without the reporter, like what any normal live-loving person will do. But there is such a thing called conscious. The scene which the taxi driver sang and cry, not knowing what should he do, is so powerful. Should he ignore his conscious, continue to be apathetic and go back to Seoul safely to his daughter, or should he go back into danger, to get the reporter out so that he could tell the world the injustice Korea is facing? He chose the latter. And I am happy that the film director chose this too, to give us some hope in humanity, like what a film should do in troubled times like now. And in history the taxi drive really did support the german reporter to the very end, to get the footage out to the world.
Unfortunately, the taxi driver in reality didn’t live to 2017 like he did in the movie. He died 4 years later, due to intoxication. He broke down into depression after seeing the horror images.
Anyway this film makes me wonder. Must blood always be shed to achieve peace and justice? Is there no other way?
On a lighter note, I discovered this 80s Korean song which is quite nice.