Archive of films The Coast Guard / Haeansun

South Korea
2002, 95 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2003

A fanatical soldier on guard duty shoots a young civilian in a restricted border area. His conscience pricks him, but at the same time he is turning into a killing machine and will soon wrest free of his superiors’ control. This rough allegory about the causes and consequences of Korea’s division is highlighted by surreal elements.


Corporal Kang Han-chol, who has become a fanatic through army training, wants to catch a spy in the restricted border area. One night he senselessly shoots a young civilian named Jong-gil who has stepped into the prohibited area to make love with his girlfriend. While the female witness to this absurd slaughter is losing her mind, Kang Han-chol is awarded R&R for exemplary performance of duty. Although contact with civilians sets his conscience going, he still becomes a killing machine and presents an insoluble problem for his colleagues and superiors. After more violent incidents, he is discharged from the army, a decision he refuses to respect. He wanders the barracks like a "phantom" dispossessed, steals ammunition, and attacks his former friends…. Director Kim Ki-duk has here mixed a rough personal drama with a tense socio-critical allegory. The controversy surrounding the monstrous consequences of dividing the Korean peninsula are highlighted by surreal elements. This drama about a militant individual who wrests free of his commanders’ control is the next in a series of allegories the director has shot about the roots of evil and manifestations of violence.

About the director

Kim Ki-duk (b. 1960) came to filmmaking via an unusual route: he worked at several factories, spent five years in the army and was planning on becoming a priest. In 1990 he went to Paris where he earned a living selling his paintings. The main character of his feature debut Crocodile (Ageo, 1996) is a young man who robs the corpses of suicides. Wild Animals (Yasaeng dongmul bohoguyeog, 1997) follows the lives of two Korean immigrants as they get involved in the Paris underworld. The Birdcage Inn (Paran daemun, 1998) is about a young woman who makes a living with her body, and who becomes friends with the daughter of the family she works for. The filmmaker’s forth movie, The Isle (Seom, 1999), recalls an unusual love relationship marked by violence. The experimental film Real Fiction (Shilje sanghwang, 2000) comprises 12 etudes on the theme of humiliation and revenge. Set in the seventies, Address Unknown (Suchwiin bulmyeong, 2001) investigates the consequences of the American military presence in Korea. In the drama Bad Guy (Nabbeun namja, 2001) a gangster and pimp fall in love with a student who ends up in a house of ill repute. A retrospective of Kim Ki-duk´s work was shown at last year´s Karlovy Vary IFF.


LJ Film Co. Ltd.
25-11 Nonhyun-dong, Gangnam-gu, 135 824, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 2 201 763 410
Fax: +82 2 201 763 01
E-mail: [email protected]

Cineclick Asia
3F Incline Bldg., 891-37 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, 135-280, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 2 538 0211, 12
Fax: +82 2 538 0479
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Screenplay: Kim Ki-duk
Dir. of Photography: Baek Dong-hyun
Music: Bok-Soong-A Project, Jang Young-kyu
Editor: Kim Sun-min
Producer: Lee Seung-jae
Production: LJ Film
Cast: Jang Dong-gun, Park Jee-ah
Contact: LJ Film Co. Ltd., Cineclick Asia


Kim Ki-duk

Film Director

Young-joo Suh

Sales Agent

Chi Sang-eun

Lee Choong-jik

Hawon Kim


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