“Musa” (“The Warrior”)
This site is devoted to the movie "Musa" of the Korean editor Sung-su Kim.
Unfortunately, our English version is incomplete now, but we hope to improve it.
Many viewers have a great impression from this movie in spite of kind of ordinary subject. ...But probably it happens so frequently whenever Master touches such eternal values as honour, fidelity, love...
In contrast to a western movie trend this movie profoundly opens the nature of heroes, and not only the principal ones... Really in this movie all characters are principal heros in one's own way. And any of them is right in his own way (and any is wrong in his own way too), and everybody tries to fight for his truth... Probably, it isn't the very correct comparison, but my first response was: "It is Dogville inside out!" - because here people could break their ego nevertheless, they could see each other, and they are given a chance to deal with their weak points and become a Troop, become Warriors, Heroes for real...
Now I think often that our world (and any our community) is such a troop, where everybody must perish sooner or later - a problem is how you meet your death.
The movie's events take place in 1375. That was a time of changing the ruling dynasties in China as well as in Korea (called Koryo at that time).
Since 1279 the Yuan dynasty of Genghis Khan progeny had been governing in China. In 1330s in the country the resentment by Mongol's had risen steeply. The main reason of it was the hardest Huang He flood in 1334 that had carried away hundred thousands lifes. Since ancient days a duty of the government was the concern about water-building, cleaning of river-bed, maintenance of channels and dams, but Mongols neglected it almost in a pointed manner, and the system of dams had become useless for a long time. In China patriotic movement had amplified, it was shown both in the literature and in a politics. Here and there popular uprisings flared up which were barely suppressed. Authorities in 1351 tried to restore system of dams, but it was already late. Association in area of construction of hundreds thousand people had only poured oil on the flame: revolts had flared up with new force. At the head of of them were leaders of a secret society «The White lotus». This Buddhist sect existed in China long before, at least since V century. But in XIV century it had changed into the secret society which has put forward on the foreground peasants ideals of equality and foreboded before long approach of century budda of coming Maytreya and a new dynasty of Ming (The Light) which would put an end to the gloomy domination of Mongols. Having covered the red head bandages (it is a symbol of the future empire of Light), rioters had organized in groups «red armies» which had begun resolute struggle against the Mongolian oppressors. Revolt had had a national-patriotic rather than a peasant character. And though its first phase was finished in 1363 by defeat of red armies, the anti-Mongolian movement flared up in the country with the increasing force. Especially when Zhung Yuanzhang became the head of it.
Zhung Yuanzhang (1328-1398) comes from peasants. Having seen his share of grief in youth he was a novice in a Buddhist monastery. When supporters of sect had excited rebellion, he joined it and having shown remarkable abilities, was quickly put forward in the front line of leaders. After the defeat of the first phase of movement Zhung appeared in the first ranks of rioters. He acted successfully, supported by Confutians and experts on the Chinese history and culture, and by 1368 he consolidates all the country under his authority and declares himself a new Emperor. In the same year his army occupies the Yuan's metropolis Dadu (Peking) and he deposes the dynasty Yuan and proclaims himself emperor of a new dynasty - Ming. Aside from the name not many ideas from the initial egalitarian-Buddhist movement remained to this time. And it is generally clear. Remaining the leader of peasants, Zhung Yuanzhang with readiness has assimilated a long time ago approved Confutian system of the state and society governing, Confutian principles and order. Though a new emperor was himself far from Confutian ideal of the wise and fair governor and was rather a despot such as Shi-huandi, he nevertheless consistently carried out Confutian politics, including the organization of the administration so undermined during the Mongol rule. And certainly it had played an important role in consolidation of Ming.
By 14th century China's neighbour, the state of Koryo had not yet recovered from the Mongolian invasion and from a compulsory participation in Yuan's campaign against Japan . The population of the country was decreasing, the area under crop was reducing, and a handicraft industry and a sale fell into decay. Almost every year famine, epidemies, and catastrophes struck some of provinces. The aristocracy mostly lost power; new people could win favour of Yuan empire and push them off. That's why the Chinese insurrections found a response in Koryo. In 1351 wan (a king) Konmin ascends the throne. He abolishes some regulations which were imposed by the conquerors, he abolishes some posts and ranks, and liquidates most staunch defenders of Yuan. Meanwhile army of Koryo smashes eight fortresses of Yuan on a Chinese bank frontier river Amnokkan, who threatened security of Koryo. Also army of Koryo restores sovereignty at territories of Koryo that were taken under administration of Mongols. But nevertheless authorities of Koryo did not dare break all relations with Yuan's empire. It was a pretext for anti-Yuan rebels' invasion (Koreans named these rebels of north-east China "red-heads"). For the first time they invaded in Koryo in autumn of 1359. Then they went as far as Sogen, but the army of Koryo smashed and banished the "red-heads" with heavy tolls for Chinese. A new large invasion occurred in autumn of 1361, and "red-heads" even could take hold the metropolis of Koryo. But population set up troops, and they along with garrisons of surrounding fortresses consolidate army of Koryo. And in the beginning of 1362 army of Koryo with military leader Choi Yeon freed Kegyen and banished "red heads" from Koryo forever. Since Ming dynasty ascends the throne in China, Koryo establishes traditional relations with it, i.e. Koryo acknowledges its dependence.
In 1365 Wan Konmin appoints Buddhist figure Sindon a prime minister of Koryo. Sindon directs his efforts towards strengthening the headquarters and counteracting despotism of the "influential houses". Sindon dismisses and punishes functionaries, who were notorious for their abuse of power, and appoints clever people in spite of their origin. Sindon begins to return bereaved lands to owners, he gives a freedom to peasants who were illegally turned into nobi (slaves), he distributes empty plots for cultivation. All this causes a fury of pro-Yuan Koryo aristocrats. In 1371 pro-Yuan "clique Lim-Em" managed to seize power and dismiss Sindon using a calumny, and in 1374 they throned their protege, a ten-year old Woo Wan. He was one of the last of Koryo dynasty, supersede only in eighteen years by a dynasty of Choson.
In the disturbing early 80-s A Ming ambassador was killed so the diplomatic relations between the states were broken again. Despite its pro-Yuan stance the new government made an attempt to make peace with the mighty neighbour and in January of 1375, Koryo sent an envoy, Won Choi to Ming. Won Choi tried to explain Koryo's position but was thrown in prison the moment he delivered the official document to Ming's ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In March of that same year, Koryo sent Chun-Yong Son as an envoy to present horses to the King, and sent Bo Kim in May followed by a low ranking officer Bo-Saeng Kim in December, who ultimately were all imprisoned and communication was lost. In 1377, Won Chai, Bo Kim, and Bo-Saeng Kim barely made it back to Koryo. However, Chun-Yong Son and his party were reported to have been sent in exile and there was no record of their return to Koryo .
Where did they go?
The movie tries to answer this question and shows a tragic history of this troop... The emperor of Ming mistakes them for spies and sends them to exile, but Mongols attack of the Ming's escort and free Koreans, who try to come back in Koryo. But the cruel Goby desert , Yellow Sea, a hunger, and personal discords lie between the house and Korean warriors. And when the general of the troop decides to retake the captive princess of Ming from Mongols met in a desert, Koreans get in almost hopeless situation...