* Date : 2015-11-02
2014 marks the 61st anniversary of the Korean Armistice that left the Korean Peninsula divided in two. Arirang Prime's "The Separated" tells stories of the Korean War's last generation who now await their approaching end with their memories of home still engraved in their hearts. Kim Gap-su, a poet and a critic, and Lee Jung-woog, a music director, go on a journey to document their stories. Tearful, fading stories of those who never left Route 48, a road that became the fleeing path for the Northern citizens during the Korean War, and the towns that they settled in are recorded through literature and music.
The separated families who can no longer go home again visit the Office of Five Provinces of the North. There, Kim Gyeong-jae (age 83) tells stories of his family. He was born in Bukcheong-gun of Hamgyeongnam-do Province, but was separated from his parents and 2 siblings when he fled from the North at the age of 19. And 18 years ago, he miraculously got in touch with his younger sister through an acquaintance in China. Kim has been regularly exchanging letters and sending parcels ever since. He expresses his grief that South Korea is the only country in the world not allowed to send letters to North Korea directly. Faced with this tragic reality, Kim often searches for satellite photographs of home on the Internet or edits family photos to console his longing for his family.
About half way through westbound Route 48, Aegibong Peak Observatory located in Gimpo stands tall, representing the refugees' sorrow. From the observatory's top, scenery of Gaepung-gun of North Korea can be seen just 1.5 km across the water. Over 200,000 refugees visit this observatory in tears every year, and Mok Seong-gyun (age 88) and his wife Chung Jeong-im (age 86) are no exceptions. They settled in Gunha-ri, Gimpo, and every Chuseok, they climb the steps of the observatory to attend an annual ceremony held in memories of home. Their hope of reuniting with their families has been fading over the unpromising years. They tell their stories as they prepare for the last moments of their lives together.
At the Ganghwa Peace Observatory in Inha-ri, Route 48 remains broken right in front of the northern territory. An old man's voice calling for his mother echoes from there. Born in Beokseong-gun, Hwanghae-do Province, artist Lee Dong-Pyo (age 83) burns his painting of his mother in a memorial service. He has spent his entire life painting his hometown as his motif, and on hundreds of canvases of various sizes, he paints the horrors of the Korean War and his desire for reunification. He has never given up the hope that he will live to witness reunification. From the broken end of Route 48, his unending hope is recorded.