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Movies About the (Coming) End of the World – Train to BusanWe can’t discuss movies about the end of the world without including the Zombie Apocalypse–the way so many movies indicate the end of life as we know it. The Zombie Apocalypse subgenre is almost always mingled with the thriller and the family melodrama. The thriller aspect provides the excitement, suspense and action, while the melodrama provides the moral, ethical and social justice messages that determine our humanity–our difference from zombies.In the gigantic South Korean hit film Train to Busan, the principal characters are too busy trying to protect their loved ones to think much about the end of the world. But it’s the way they go about it that decides who will survive and who may save the world. I think Train to Busan is remarkable because it’s the only zombie movie that has made me cry! After you dry your eyes, consider how zombies are different from pod people (from Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and how their differences/similarities affect the impending end of the world. You might also consider how zombies in one film are different from zombies in another.Watch Train to Busan (South Korea: Yeon Sang-ho, 2016; Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube$)A) Ask 3 discussion questions of your own regarding the film. The questions can be about specific techniques used in specific scenes, the setting the characters, the plotline, unexpected outcomes, the ending.B) Answer 3 discussion questions posed by other students.C) Respond to at least one other student’s post with polite agreement or disagreement, giving evidence for your point of view. Answering another student’s question doesn’t count for this part.D) Read: Buchanan article, (Links to an external site.)Bring up an interesting issue from this writing that would start a discussion.

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Part B: ( answer his three questions)
1. Could the train possibly have kept every single one of the surviving
passengers safe considering the delay and the needs of the passengers?
2. A truck driver was told by the border patrol that they were cleaning his car
because of a “oil leakage”. Later, the government point out that the key hot
word is “zombie”. Even if a government is democratic as South Korea, why
would they not want to confront the problem and would want to even “cover up”
some aspects of the core of situation?
3. According to this movie, is it better to look out for the solely for needs of
yourself and your family or also the needs of others as well?
D. Jack Buchanan’s article details how Train to Busan supports a view of
helping the survivors in need of protector, or as Buchanan says, the lower class,
elderly and youth. This comes mainly in the form of the couple Sang-hwa and
Seong-kyeong. When Su-an boards the train, ” they initially act as surrogates
until Seok-woo steps up to the plate.” In the end of the film, “Sang-hwa gives his
life for the good of the group, and acts like this are consistently rewarded in the
film with positive results”. Thus, “The film supports their view of the world, and
gives them a strong voice as they stand in direct opposition to impersonal,
socially irresponsible greed.” I wholeheartedly agree with this, as
they contrast well with the impatient, rich Yo-Suk who wants to get to Busan as
fast as possible and doesn’t care who gets left behind or dies in the process.
This is very much relevant to how the COVID-19 pandemic can make it so that
the poor cannot get so much resources and the middle class/rich are not doing
so much because they mainly care about themselves. Now, I am not saying
there should be an obligation, but when it comes to arguments to providing for
the less fortunate, some people like Yo-Suk use similar arguments to not
helping people in times of crisis (which some of them are valid, some of them
are not).
Part C Respond to at least one other student’s post with polite agreement or disagreement,
giving evidence for your point of view. Answering another student’s question doesn’t count
for this part.
A. My Questions
1. When do you think is the first time we see the issue of classism in Train to
2. What do you believe was the reason for the helicopters dropping some of the
zombies into areas that looked like they didn’t have any infection? Why spread
instead of isolate the issue?
3. Why do you think Sang-hwa waited to close the door for Seok-woo until after
he was safe, when earlier in the train ride Seok-woo closed the door on
Sang-hwa and Seong-kyeong (his pregnant wife)?
I think my favorite line in Buchanan’s article comes from talking about corporate
greed and how it’s represented in both the film and in South Korea, “the
country … has placed value and trust in corporations and business over all else,
where they must be respected and seen to be infallible”. This line reminds me of
America, a very similarly structured democratic/oligarchical society and
government and made me wonder what would happen if this movie had been
located in the USA instead of South Korea. Another point that I think would be
important to mention is that if the train were truly acting “democratic” they would
have voted for someone to lead them, but instead Yon-suk immediately takes
charge because he’s the COO of a big company and therefore feels naturally
like he should lead and is the most qualified to give orders to the crew and lower
society people.

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