What does this 2017 South Korean film, loosely based on the true story of the Hashima Island coal mines off Nagasaki, tell us about the motivations of so called ‘revisionist’ films centering on nations or ethnicities that were victims of WWII atrocities? How does the history of the island and Japanese treatment of Koreans, as well as the subsequent controversies over this past, reflect Japanese reticence to come to terms with the deeds of Imperial Japan? Why did the Korean producers decide to create a fictional prisoner escape and climactic battle between the desperate prisoners and the Japanese and collaborating Koreans? How does this film resonate with other revisionist films like ‘Inglorious Basterds’? Do the black comedy aspects of such films do any sort of disservice to victims of atrocity? How does the film illustrate, in the person of the main character and his daughter, what seems to be a common human tendency, during times of extreme adversity, to act for the good of the group instead of being motivated by more narrow interests?

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