Escape from Mogadishu, South Korea submitted for best international feature film at the 2022 Oscars, is a tense action thriller that takes place during the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in the late 1980s, and the story of foreign diplomats – namely opponents of the North and the South. Korean embassy workers – caught in the fire and tried to flee the capital. Having viewed each other with hostility and suspicion from birth, the two Korean factions must agree to forge an alliance that won’t be easy to survive.
“If you watch the movie, you’ll realize that these two groups are really the only two groups that can communicate with each other without an interpreter,” director Ryoo Seung-wan said in conversation with THR Gifts, provided by Vision Media. “If it weren’t for the political or ideological divisions in a system, these two groups of people might be the happiest people in the world. [together]. ”
Like Ryoo, producer Kang Hye-jeong was intrigued by the project’s resonance with Korea’s civil war history as well as its relevance to universal humanitarian themes. “This story raises the fundamental question of what is man, and what is life?” she speaks. “And in addition, it is set in the most Korean situations.”
Production took place in pre-pandemic Morocco in late 2019, requiring the coordination of a multinational cast and crew, available in five languages - Korean, English, French, Arabic and Spanish – spoken at the same time. “Our determination to make something happen transcends all language barriers,” says Ryoo.
The film’s thrilling climax, which Ryoo notes is based on a real event, finds a convoy of four Korean-mixed vehicles racing through the streets of Mogadishu, evading even soldiers who have armed and insurgents in a race to get to the Italian embassy. , where a Red Cross plane was about to take off.
“This is a movie that has to take a different approach to the action sequences you see in blockbuster movies,” Ryoo said of the shot, which took about three weeks to shoot. “For us, it’s not about giving people a sense of speed or showing the seriousness of the situation. I feel it’s much more important to show the fear that’s building inside the car than what’s going on outside. “
After filming all the stunts, Escape The team filmed in the cast’s studio by removing the roofs of each vehicle, then restored the roofs and built outside action shots based on the actors’ performances. “Since these cars are all so old, by the time we were about to shoot, they couldn’t go more than 30 or 40 kilometers an hour,” laughs Ryoo. “When the actors couldn’t hear me over the radio, I ran over and told them it would be faster.”
Ryoo said his goal with the scene was to include at least one scene that hasn’t been seen in another movie before – a goal he had to meet with a budget of 24 million won (approximately $20 million USD). ) of the movie. “If you compare it to a regular Hollywood movie, it’s an independent film.”
Finally, let’s say Ryoo and Kang, Escape from Mogadishu is a reminder to both Koreans of their own history as well as to nations around the world of the human and social toll of war.
“This is what Korea looks like today, but it can also be seen as the future of Somalia in movies, and the future of Afghanistan. [after the Taliban regained control] a few months ago,” said the director. “So this is a sentiment that only Koreans can show, but at the same time, this is the story of anyone and everyone who has experienced war and became a victim of war. ”
This edition of THR Gifts sponsored by Well Go USA Entertainment.