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Ditto

Dong Gam

An unashamedly populist melodrama that proved to be a major hit at home, Kim Jeong-gwon’s Ditto tells of a female student from 1979 who begins talking via ham radio with a male student from the same school. They plan to meet, but she discovers that the other student lives in the year 2000. She exists in a politically tumultuous 1979, while he is a member of a relatively worry-free modern generation. The time-trip love story is milked for all its emotional worth, as revealed by a soundtrack that ranges from Bach cello suites to Korean hit songs of the 1970s. What’s interesting about the film is how it taps into Korean obsessions with borders, whether drawn by time, crossed loyalties, strict social codes or distance. Today, as a thaw begins to open up the Korean peninsula, visitors to the North describe their experience as like a trip back in time. Ditto’s story may look far less fanciful should the two Koreas ever be reunified.
2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 111 min.

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