Opening in September of 1950, after U.S.-led forces had landed in Incheon, turning the tide of the Korean War, Welcome to Dongmakgol
tells the (fictional) story of a remote little village where the residents have never seen guns, and are completely ignorant of the conflict going on in their country. Their simple, quiet lives are disrupted when an American pilot, Smith (Steve Taschler
), crashes just outside the village. While the kindly villagers tend to Smith's injuries, a pair of North Korean soldiers, young gung-ho Seo Taek-gi (Ryu Deok-hyeon
) and the older Jang Young-hee (Lim Ha-ryong
), and their commander, Lee Su-hwa (Jeong Jae-yeong
), as well as a pair of South Korean soldiers, deserter Pyo Hyun-chul (Shin Ha-kyun
of Save the Green Planet!
) and medic Mun Sang-sang (Seo Jae-gyeong
), all find themselves stranded in the little village. There's a lengthy standoff, but when the soldiers accidentally destroy the town's food supply, they all reluctantly agree to work together to help the town restore the food so they'll survive the coming winter. Before long, the soldiers begin to connect with one another and form a strong bond with the locals. There's even a budding romance between Taek-gi and a kooky, carefree village girl, Yeo-il (Kang Hye-jeong). Unfortunately for everyone, UN forces believe that Smith was shot down by North Korean forces, and are prepared to bomb the region to protect an important supply route. Welcome to Dongmakgol
was a surprise blockbuster in South Korea. The film marks the feature debut of writer/director Park Gwang-hyeon
, and is based on a play by Jang Jin
. It had its U.S. premiere at the 2006 New York Asian Film Festival, presented by Subway Cinema.