ESC to close 3.83 (by 233 users)hwaryeohan hyuga 화려한 휴가
  • 2007
  • film
  • Korea

My List



romanized hwaryeohan hyuga
english May 18
aka 18 May

Based On

based on real story


genres action, drama, psycholog.


language Korean


country Korea
type real
format film


date 25 Jul, 2007
duration 118 minutes
status released


avg. score 3.83 of 5 by 233 users
total users 492
rating 892
favorites 3



The citizens of Gwangju lead a relatively peaceful life, until one day the military takes over the city, accusing the residents of conspiracy and claiming that they are communist sympathisers preparing a revolution against the current government. Seeing as the soldiers beat defenceless people, mainly students, to death, the citizens are in for retaliation and form a militia.




Park Sin Ae
Gang Min U
Park Heung Su
Gang Jin U
Teacher Jeong
In Bong




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02 Feb, 2014
Even though it seems they have nothing in common, both films talk about the Gwangju Massacre. May 18 is about the massacre from start to end and is mainly from the rebel's point of view. Peppermint Candy talks about part of the massacre and the aftermath of it, but from the point of view of a man both when he was a young soldier, and later when he became a policeman.

01 Aug, 2010
They both have to do with brothers having to live through wars and how they deal with the situation.


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kiyoshi 18 Jan, 2015
Sad story.
liyirna 03 Feb, 2014
@michikohime, as I said. it's a unversal palgue, my conrty's films (Russia) suffer from this too. There are good enough patriotic moviea about all ages but truly great war (for example) films are always about people.
michikohime 03 Feb, 2014
@liyirna Oh I see now what you mean. I think that some (few) patriotic movies can be good though, but maybe since they're about much older historical period so that the movie crew can have a better "overall" view of the event and maybe some distance from it.

And there even a few that talks about more recent time that are not all that bad (like World War 2 stuff and others). I guess I understood the way you were talking about "patriotism" like when it's pointed out of American movies, where it's... well... deeply bothersome and all over the place, even in stricly fictionnal story *cough* Independance Day *cough*.

And thanks for the suggestion, I'll go watch this other movie you are talking about
liyirna 02 Feb, 2014
@michikohime I applied the term 'patriotic' no to events described in the movie but to movie itself. Patriotic films are the ones that 'celebrate' some event in the nation's history, and because Gwanju's massacre is part of mored korean ethos. this film glorifies korean national movement on the path to democracy. There is nothing bad with it except one thing: almost all patriotic films are disgustingly bad. Actors forget how to act, directors how to direct, screenwriters how to write belivable story and concise characters. It's a unversal plague. That's why I prefer '26 years' about aftermath of the Gwanju because of human dimension.
michikohime 02 Feb, 2014
@liyirna I'm not quite sure I understand what you're talking about. Patriotism from whom and when? Do you mean when they sing the anthem? That has nothing to do with patriotism in my mind, but a way to celebrate the fact
they thought that the troops were leaving, that they "reclaimed" their own city, while nobody in the people there actually started the anthem - it was the music that started to play.

If ever you've been to a protest, you would understand how being with everyone there, walking to cry our angriness against something all together, is so intense that, sometimes, you feel like you and the other are the whole country united at this moment. I've been to protest when great deal of people sung "The Internationale" even though there was none them that could claim they are communist. So, again, it's not about patriotism, but mearly an expression of being part of a whole, and it express itself by feeling this closeness to "your country" since it's the people that are, in fact, a country. And, somehow, I feel that's why there is always flag everywhere, either country flag or any kind of organisation flag. So I didn't see the Korea flag as a patriotist thing, but as a way for people that feel their country is sinking in deep injustice and trouble to reclaim the symbol, to tell the ones they are protesting against that the country is not the establish government but them, the people and every single korean out there.

Even though this movie is not the best (I got about the same point of view as @3lii on this), I don't feel like the massacre was "over-stylish". It's dramatic yes, but we're not watching a documentary, aren't we?

Then about the city hall, maybe they didn't explain it well enough in the movie. And that's one of the major flaws, the way the portrayed the motives of both the military and the people. Thous the motive of the military could be somewhat obscur since there's, in my mind, no way to defend such a violent repression, the motive of the people are much more knowned and I feel also like they wasted time in some part when they could have use for making a stronger point for about every rebelion act that were done. And I also feel like the writers did not make such a great job at building characters that are easy to get attached to.

If ever you're interested to know more about this historic massacre, go check out the Wikipedia page about it, it's complete enough and it explains a lot of stuff that weren't really that well portrayed in the movie. Actually, it's one of my favorite part of Korean history (not in the way that I love it, but because it deeply touched me), so even with all that said, I'm still happy they made a movie about it. I've heard there's another one called "Peppermint Candy", maybe it's a bit better. There's also a whole lot of novel about this period, like "The Old Garden", who is really great (though I've heard the movie they made is not that good).

Also, I feel like, from what I've seen from her, it's about the best performance of Lee Yo Won. And I really liked the ending when
Shinae is saying "don't forget about us". That's the point of every violent conflict in history : do not forget. It so easy to, but somehow, humanity has the responsability to remember all the innocent blood that has been spilled, and how those horrible thing happened.

Quick explanation about cityhall :
after the massacre, every little "rebelious" group were tracked done, all over Korea, even if they just "spread the word" but didn't take part in the Gwangju rebelion. Cityhall is a symbol of the city. They wanted to protect it all together because it was their "barrack" if you may, the center of their organisation, etc etc. If they got back home, it would have been like they didn't stand for the wrong doing the military force did to them and their people, it would have been like seing "yes, we are communist, we were wrong, we are nothing against the government and the military (well, at that time, they were the same thing so...)" It was like the dead were dead for nothing. And when you read about the people they caught after this, that were arrested for false accusation and torture to death sometimes, well... maybe they thought that it was better to try to keep their city and die quickly then to admit failure and die from a long and painful death, far from their loved one... I don't know if you get my point, but it makes sense when you start to read about the 80' and early 90'
3lii 04 Dec, 2013
It felt like it lacked a lot of character development and explanation to me. I personally felt like it didn't do the true story justice which made me really sad. But at least it seems like most people thought it did which is good.

I never felt connected to the characters in the beginning before the soldiers showed up, it felt kind of like they wasted the time leading up to it and when they came the explanation that was given was kind of vague and nobody really questioned any further why the soldiers were there or seemed confused they just accepted it.

Towards the end when her father told Min u to leave with Sin Ae and fulfill what he'd said to him earlier about keeping the ones he loved safe, his father seemed set on staying at the city hall no matter what. It seemed rather random when Min U stopped the car and said he was going back. He said he'd go back to protect her father (when clearly he won't leave the city hall) then continued to imply he was going to die, I don't see how that helps her or her father.

Also the people said they'd stay at city hall to protect their beloved home. But the movie made it seem like they were there for no reason, there was no reason why they couldn't evacuate and come back. I'm sure the soldiers wouldn't stick around there that's a waste. So they could just come back and I'd image at most there would only be a few soldiers still there and that's not such an issue. If that is really how it occurred in history I'm sure they thought over evacuating a little more than that and weighed their options.

I just felt it was badly done .-. I feel like a terrible person
3lii 04 Dec, 2013
@labooboo93 I thought I was the only one
addy1884 16 Apr, 2013
O-M-G ...

i can't believe this is based on actual facts.. =(