Mal. Mo. E – The Secret Mission

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The year is 1940, and the Korean Peninsula is still under the colonial rule of Imperial Japan. The Imperial Japanese are on the verge of what will soon be their undoing – their involvement in World War II. But even as the nation prepares for war, the colonial government is doing its utmost in its colony to stamp out the Korean language. Its goal is to promote the Japanese language and culture at all costs. Against this backdrop, a group of people forms an unlikely alliance. Their aim is to produce a Korean language dictionary – an act of defiance and patriotism that could well see them land in very hot water with the colonial government. This group is led by an erudite young scholar named Ryu Jeong Hwan (Yoon Kye Sang) and Kim Pan Su (Yoo Hae Jin), an illiterate, middle-aged petty thief. Together with the rest of the group, the duo attempts to do the unthinkable – complete and publish a vital reference book that could help restore national pride in a language that has been placed under existential threat. This film was partly based on a true story. “Mal-Mo-E: The Secret Mission” is a 2019 South Korean movie directed by Eom Yu Na.