Interview with “Crossing” Star: “Crossing” is North Korea’s Reality

[imText1]People often call Cha In Pyo a “nice actor.” Now however, “courageous actor” is a more apt description.

The box-office record of a movie sticks to the stars like a label. For this reason, the movie “Crossing,” which deals with the human rights of North Korean refugees and is far from setting a box-office record, would not have been possible without courage.

To date, several movies have been produced with North Korea as the theme. “South of the Border (2006),” “TaeGukGi: Brotherhood of War (2003),” and others have been about North Korea, but they still kept their commercial flavor. ‘Crossing’ is different however, because from beginning to end it faithfully portrays North Korea’s reality. It is a “real story” about North Korean brethren who suffer great crises in the search for food and freedom.

Cha In Pyo said in an interview with the Daily NK on July 9th, “From the moment I decided to take part in this film, I did not see it from the point of view of a commercial actor.” He who when thinking about North Korean refugees became frustrated and teary-eyed said, “I took part as one of the citizens of South Korea.”

He then expressed the hope that “Among the many people who have seen the movie, I hope that they will gradually start to show a greater interest in North Korea’s human rights issues and the current situation of North Korean refugees.”

About 600,000 people have seen “Crossing,” which has been playing for three weeks now. From the start it was not a hit movie but, despite this, it has steadily garnered popularity.

[imText2]Recently, the South Korean Catholic Bishop Church and others began the “Campaign to Watch Crossing Together,” thus increasing the number of viewers. Also, an album about North Korean human rights composed by many celebrities will be made available for sale, so it is anticipated that an even larger number of viewers will head for the theaters.

Cha expressed his hope that the movie does not simply shock audiences for a day, but leaves a lasting impression and desire to help. He also hopes that the movie will become one that people all over the world can watch, such as the 007 series whose most recent outings have garnered 50 million viewers from around the world over the last several decades.

He said, “I do not think it is appropriate for movie critics to evaluate a movie which is based on reality. To me, a single line by an audience member is more valuable than the views of movie critics.”

With the possibility of reunification always ahead, there are things that we need to think about and resolve: Defectors, dictatorship, human rights, violence, political prisons, public executions—this movie raises a lot of questions for those of us living in contemporary society.

Finally, he sent a sincere request to young defectors. “You must succeed. This is not about making money, but among you there needs to be famous businessmen, actors, doctors, lawyers, and philanthropic entrepreneurs. Young defectors must settle down and succeed in order to give hope to the 23 million North Korean citizens.”

“Just as a parent embraces a child if s/he is hurt in order to help the wound heal and recover, I have come to think that these are people I have to embrace,” he revealed.

He continued, “If we do not do anything for them then, when my 11-year old son Jung Min becomes an adult, we may be viewed as the generation that did not stand up to history; future generations and the North Korean people might forever bear us a grudge.”