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Sangwoo Kang
2018 | 89min 5sec | Color+B&W | DCP | English subtitles



KIM-GUN begins with a black-and-white photo of an armed young man taken in May 1980 in the city of Gwangju. 35 years later, the identity of the young man has become a source of controversy: some claim he is “Gwang-su,” one of the North Korean special agents whose mission was to instigate anti-government violence, while others remember him as “Kim-gun,” a ragpicker who lived under a bridge over the Gwangjucheon Stream and who only went by his last name, KIM.

Based on the remaining photographic evidence, the documentary sets out in search of the missing young man.


Director's Statement

KIM-GUN searches for the whereabouts of a young man whose identity has sparked a national controversy over the 1980 May 18 Gwangju Uprising. Starting with the vague memories of those who had crossed paths with him during that time, the film tracks down those who participated in the Uprising as “Citizen Soldiers.” It also traces KIM’s final steps, based on photographic clues found in the firearms he carried and the “Surveillance Truck No. 10” in which he rode. By identifying KIM-GUN, we believe that we can find valuable leads to resolving the ongoing controversy over May 18. Why did a nameless young man join the Uprising? Why did he take up arms? Where has he gone afterwards? It is the answers to these questions that the film seeks.



Sangwoo Kang
KANG Sang-woo(b. 1983) is a filmmaker based in Yongin, Korea. Spanning both fiction and non-fiction, his works explore political, social, and sensual worlds of minorities in Korean society. His shorts have been shown at museums and film festivals, such as Indieforum, Vancouver International Film Festival, Seoul Independent Film Festival, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Seoul International Experimental Film Festival. KIM-GUN is his first feature film.
CLEAN ME (2014, 20min)
Anmado (2014, 3min)
A Silk Letter (2010, 50min)


Producer     Yeon-kyoung SHIN  Yoohee KO 
Cinematographer     Sang-woo KANG  Hyun-seok KIM 
Editor     Sang-woo KANG  Yoohee KO