Monday, May 11, 2015

Kang Je-gyu's 'My Way' / 마이 웨이 (2011): Take One

Kang Je-gyu's My Way / 마이 웨이 (2011), delivers an epic story that begins in Japanese Occupied Korea in the late 1920s and ends, or almost ends, at Normandy in 1944. Drawing on the real story of Yang Kyoungjong and the great sweep of history, My Way works on several levels -- from the small and human to the mass and inhuman violence of global war. 

Like The Iliad, My Way lets us see multiple viewpoints. And as with that Homeric epic, there is an abundance of courage, stupidity, shrewdness, luck, fate, adventure, cruelty and death. 
Among a group of characters, three stand out: Korean Joon-Sik (Jang Dong-gun), Japanese Tatsuo (Joe Odagiri) and Chinese Shirai (Fan Bingbing); the latter, a female sniper, contributes to an unlikely romantic thread, as well. 

Among the crazier things one will encounter in My Way is a Japanese infantry frontal assault against Soviet tanks at Khalkhyn Gol (1939).  
Here, a Soviet frontal assault against German positions at Kharkov in Ukraine (1943). 

In My Way, no one is as fanatical as low level military officers -- Japanese, Russian and German -- in sending their men into doomed, bloody efforts. 
As members of Ostlegionen units, Asians were positioned at Normandy, part of the German defenses of the Atlantic Wall. There were all sorts of ethnicities in the Ostlegionen: mostly desperate POWs converted into cannon fodder. 

Spotlighting the existence of the Ostlegionen is fascinating, another way in which My Way raises consciousness about the complexities and nuances of war on a massive scale.   

Today's Rune: Breakthrough. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

this sounds really interesting. I'd not heard of it before. Gotta see if Lana could get it for the library.