cinema response: Chosin (2010)

The documentary, Chosin, about the escape of UN (mostly US) soldiers from an encirclement by Chinese forces forces us to remember and respect the "Forgotten War." General MacArthur wanted the UN forces to push the communists all the way to the Yellow River on the border with China. But Communist China did not want that to happen so they sent 12 divisions into North Korea. The high command on the defenders side did not want to believe that the Chinese were joining the fight. But then 15,000 soldiers were surrounded around the Chosin reservoir in North Korea. The US took 9,000 casualties. But they fought their way out of the encirclement.

This movie consists of some archival footage as well as clips from the 1952 Hollywood movie, Retreat Hell. I thought the dramatized footage was actually helpful in showing what these former Marines were described. The bulk of the movie consisted of interviews with these survivors. They all encountered hell, and some encountered God as well. It's always fascinating to me how, in the face of such terror and inhumanity, soldiers lean into God, open their Gideon New Testaments, pray for the first time, and sing songs from their childhood Sunday school classes.

I watched this documentary on Netflix. I recommend it to anyone who knows nothing of what our soldiers did preserve freedom for South Koreans, and the 98,000 North Koreans they helped evacuate.

The official site is here. Below is the introduction to the movie.


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