In the movie Sunny, two rival friend groups engage in a fight that depicts not only their conflict, but also the South Korean uprising against dictatorship and the all-encompassing effects that it had on the country.
One side of this scene focuses on the girls. On the outside they all look like nice, civilized girls. They are wearing the latest fashion trends and some even have their hair styled with pigtails and bows, making them look even younger than they are. Just moments before the fight begins the girls are laughing and joking around together, focusing on petty things like makeup and flirting. When their “rival” gang of girls arrives, they also appear to be nice, young girls. If you did not know the history of these two friend groups you would never assume that a fight would break out moments later. When they do begin to fight with one another we see the many different sides come out of these girls. Some choose to fight physically (and brutally) with each other. Others prefer to shout insults, which can barely be heard over all of the noise that surrounds them.
This scene has dark and serious components to it as well. Just before the fight scene begins, the audience has learned that Na-Mi’s brother has been creating anti-dictatorship materials and spreading them around. It has become clear through conversations within Na-Mi’s family that South Korea is on the brink of a revolution. The fight scene shows civilians fighting against military rule, attempting to show their anger and outrage towards the dictatorship. This group of civilians is made up primarily of young men, who all appear full of passion and rage as they storm the military lines. The young men are all wearing everyday street clothes, whereas the military men are all in their uniforms and armed with riot shields. They are also carrying what look to be explosives, or smoke bombs, in their hands, probably to throw at crowds of protestors.
To me, this scene showed the overarching effects that the dictatorship had on South Korea during this time. Catty girl fights are something that occur in practically every high school across the world, and South Korea is no exception. However, at this point in South Korea’s history even a petty fight between teenage girls cannot happen without being overshadowed by the country’s conflicts. At one point in the scene the girls actually get tangled up with the protesters and the militant officers and end up doing a back and forth dance with them. This perfectly symbolized the involvement that the government ended up having in all aspects of everyday life. They are literally intertwined with the people of South Korea.
Although Sunny is a lighthearted and comedic film overall, this scene touches on very serious and important issues in Korea at the time. If teenage girls can’t avoid the conflict going on, then surely the rest of the country must be deeply affected as well.
This work by Georgia Morgan is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.