25 years ago this week, Los Angeles was up in flames over the acquittal of four police officers who were caught beating up Rodney King on videotape. Now filmmakers are using their craft to reflect on what was, and what has become of Los Angeles since that day.
NPR has a list of films commemorating the 25th anniversary of the riots, and one film of particular interest to me is “Gook.”
Directed by Justin Chon, “Gook” tells the story of two Korean-American brothers and their friendship with an African-American girl during the outset of the riots. Chon actually lived through the riots himself, witnessing his father’s shoe store get looted as a child. Chon felt it was important to tell the riots from the perspective of two Korean brothers rather than immigrants, as he points out that too often recent immigrants and those who had been living in L.A. for sometime were just lumped together as Koreans without much context.
Films like “Gook” are important because not only do they provide a historical context, we as the audience get to see an event through the eyes of the characters of that particular film. We may all think we know what happened in the 1992 riots, but we all didn’t experience it the same way. What makes this film also unique in my view is that it’s told from the perspective of two Korean-American brothers, a perspective we rarely see in any media here in the United States. “Gook” was recently picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films and is expected to hit theaters this August.