Their first visitor drops from the sky in an odd machine. A man with blond hair and blue eyes who can't speak a word of Korean. His plane inexplicably crashed, or was it caused by some kind of magic that protects the village? The town doctor, the only man who can read or speak any English, helps him and tries to talk to him. "How... are... you?" he asks, reading from an English text book. The American soldier is rather angered by this question as he's covered in bandages and has a number of broken bones. The doctor doesn't understand why he doesn't respond as the text book suggests: "Fine, thanks, and you?"
But, then, as they are attending to the American soldier, two South Korean soldiers wander into the village. They make small talk with the villagers and explain that there is a war going on. "With Japan? With China?" they ask. No... with Korea itself. The villagers are quite confused by this. The South Korean soldiers are busy explaining all the terrible things the North has done when three North Korean soldiers then walk into the village and the soldiers of both sides jump up and brace themselves for a stand off. The villagers look on rather amused, wondering what is so scary about the sticks they carry and the strange potato-shaped metal apparatuses in their hands. They face each other down for a whole day, no one moving, scared the other one would move first. Finally a grenade is accidentally thrown and the village's food store house is blown to bits.
The North Korean soldiers feel responsible (plus, they have no where to go as the allied forces are now regaining the South and they have been separated from the main army) so they offer to stay until they can fill the storehouse again. The South Korean soldiers don't want to look bad next to the North Koreans who have so generously offered to stay, and so they decide to stay, too. After a series of strange events, they start to befriend each other, and the American soldier, too. Something about the town just seems to have that effect on everyone.
I really love this movie. It reminds us that North Koreans and South Koreans are just humans after all. They are enemies because of what their governments have told them. In this little idyllic town of Dongmakgol, those problems between them cease to matter and the soldiers just become human beings again. Again, this, like Wedding Campaign, is an older movie and a bit off the radar now, but certainly worth hunting down and watching.