Taegukgi / Brotherhood Of War Taegukgi / Brotherhood Of War - (English) TYPE3
Film Date :   February 6, 2004
Genre :   War Family   
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Taegukgi / Brotherhood Of War

Taegukgi / Brotherhood Of War - (English) TYPE3

Taegukgi Hwinallimyo (Hangul: 태극기 휘날리며) is a 2004 South Korean war film  directed by Kang Je-gyu. It tells the story about the effect of the Korean War on two brothers. The film's title is the name of the pre-war Flag of Korea as well as the postwar Korea. It was released in the United Kingdom asBrotherhood: Taegukgi and the United States as Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War.

Kang Je-gyu made a name for himself directing Shiri and was able to attract top talent and capital to his new project, eventually spending US $12.8 million on production. The film became one of the biggest successes in Korean film history up to that time, attracting 11.74 million people to the theatre, beating the previous record holder Silmido.


While digging up remains at a Korean War battlefield to set up a memorial site, the South Korean Army excavation team notifies an elderly man that they identified some remains as his own. He believes that they may be those of his brother and drives over to the site with his granddaughter.

The story then shifts to Seoul in June 1950, where the Lee family lives. Jin-tae Lee (Jang Dong-gun) owns a shoeshine stand to pay for his younger brother Jin-seok's (Won Bin) education with the help of a boy named Yong-seok who Jin-seok teaches. Jin-tae's fiancée Young-shin (Lee Eun-ju) works with the Lee's noodle shop. On June 25, North Korea invades the country, and chaos erupts across the nation. Jin-seok is conscripted into the army and when his brother tries to get him off the train, he is conscripted as well. The two brothers are sent to a battlefield. They survive their first artillery strike though Jin-seok nearly dies of a heart attack in shock. Jin-tae is told by his commanding officer that if he can earn the highest award for a South Korean soldier which is the Taeguk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit, his brother can be sent home. Jin-tae willingly volunteers for many dangerous suicidal missions. He is promoted to the rank of Chungsa (Sergeant), but Jin-seok says to his brother that he is concerned Jin-tae is risking his life for the glory of being appreciated and having attention. Soon American led U.N. forces invade South Korea from Incheon and push the North Koreans close to the Chinese border. The battle of Pyongyang soon follows, and many die on both sides. During the battle, Jin-tae captures an important North Korean captain(Choi Min-sik) and is finally awarded with the medal; however, a close friend named Yong-man died in the process, frustrating Jin-seok.

China enters the war on the communist side, invading North Korea en masse and pushing South Korean and U.N. forces in a desperate retreat south. The unit sees the aftermath of a few massacres, and in turn massacres some North Korean units. Jin-seouk witnesses the carnage and is sickened. Yong-seouk speaks with Jin-seouk, telling him about events at home, and tells him how the family is doing now that they are living under the communists. Jin-tae murders Yong-seok when some prisoners make a stand with a hostage-the prisoners had been forced to fight for the entertainment of South Korean troops, and whoever lost would be starved. On their way home Jin-tae gets his medal and Young-shin is captured and taken by the anti-Communists Federation before Jin-seok's eyes when it is later discovered she signed up for the Communist Workers' Party of Korea to get food for the family while saying that the South Korean government gave them nothing in the country's time of need. After Jin-seok escapes from a guard and Jin-tae tries to hold the anti-Communists back from killing Young-shin, who is furthermore accused of being "with every North Korean officer", a chaotic attempt by prisoners is made to escape. During the struggle, Young-shin is shot and killed by an anti-Communist, and the brothers are arrested for trying to rescue her. Jin-seok cries out as Young-shin's body thrown into the trench along with the other previously executed prisoners. In the jail, Jin-seok quietly mocks Jin-tae for Young-shin's death. Jin-tae is later brought in for questioning by a security commander. His request to release his brother is refused, and a Chinese artillery strike takes place. The security commander then orders the prison to be set on fire where Jin-seok is being held. Trying to rescue his brother, Jin-tae loses his consciousness in the artillery strike and wakes up to mistakenly believe his brother died in the fire. He brutally kills the security commander by bludgeoning him to death just before he is restrained by Chinese soldiers.

In truth, Jin-seok had been transferred to a military hospital, after barely escaping the burning cell, and being saved by a soldier nicknamed Uncle Yang. However, Jin-seok was shot in the escape. Uncle Yang also brings a letter that Jin-tae wrote, and says that Jin-tae was never found but he doubts Jin-tae deserted. When Uncle Yang hands Jin-seok the letter, Jin-seok is apathetic towards both the letter and his brother's uncertain fate. However, the next day, he learns from two South Korean military officers that his brother had defected to the North Koreans. Afterwards, he reads Jin-tae's letter to their mother and is brought to tears. He immediately rejoins the army to fight at the 38th parallel, but is denied permission to fight. Jin-seok escapes his camp and runs to the North Korean site, surrendering to them and claiming that he is Jin-tae's brother; Jin-tae is now the leader of an elite North Korean unit. They send him with an escort to validate his claim, but the North Koreans are attacked by South Korean forces and U.S. warplanes, and Jin-seok's escorts are killed by a U.S. bomber. Jin-seok fights his way through the soldiers before the feared North Korean Infantry Unit known as "Flag Unit", commanded by Jin-tae, arrives to reinforce the North Korean lines. The appearance of Flag Unit turns the tables and forces the South Koreans to retreat.

After killing a few South Korean soldiers and not recognizing his own brother, Jin-tae tries to kill Jin-seok in anger. The two fight while Jin-seok begs his brother to recognize him. When Jin-tae is about to shoot him, he is wounded by a bayonet strike. Jin-seok tries to carry him off the battlefield, but is wounded himself as well. Jin-tae finally recognizes his brother. Jin-seok refuses to retreat without Jin-tae, but he convinces him to leave, promising that he will meet him back at home. Jin-tae presents a silver pen, promising to give it to Jin-seok as well as finish the shoes he made when they meet again. The wounded Jin-seok retreats while Jin-tae holds off the North Korean infantry with a machine gun, killing many of them. The North Koreans finally manage to hit Jin-tae in a barrage of bullets. Jin-tae gives one last look at his brother before dying on the battlefield.

The film returns to the modern day, and the now aged Jin-seok is shown at the dig site begging his brother's remains to speak to him, as his granddaughter looks on with sympathy. The film then returns to the past, ending in the aftermath of the Korean War, where Jin-seok returns to his mother, and sees the shoes his brother actually finished, and then heads off with the Young-shin younger siblings in a peaceful Seoul. He reassures them that he will return to school, thereby fulfilling the promise he made to Jin-tae.

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