The recent news of a South Korean astronaut/cosmonaut blasting off from Baikonur to the international space station had at least a couple of news outlets proclaiming a surge of national pride among Kazakhstan's ethnic Korean population.
And I've been waiting a long time for the public release of Koryo Saram, a documentary that "tells the harrowing saga of survival in the open steppe country and the sweep of Soviet history through the eyes of these deported Koreans [sent into exile to Kazakhstan], who were designated by Stalin as an "unreliable people" and enemies of the state."
It's just shown at Harvard, it won a "Best Documentary" award in Canada, and has been screened in several international cities and academic communities, but I've gotten no reply to two requests to be added to the mailing list for more information. Perhaps the "work in progress" is progressing slowly?
There's now a 10-minute trailer available on the film's website, and it's really worth a look. Negative, hopeful, nostalgic, clear-eyed; the film promises to be an important addition to an understanding of the multi-ethnic, multicultural, mixed-identity nation that is the reality of contemporary Kazakhstan.
Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People
Directed by Y. David Chung & Matt Dibble