If you’ve never seen the 2000 South Korean film “Joint Security Area,” from “Oldboy” director Chan-Wook Park, you certainly owe it to yourself to seek it out. Amongst it’s many accolades, the film was hailed by Quentin Tarantino as one of the 20 greatest films since 1992.
Part of the film is, of course, set in the Joint Security Area, inside the D.M.Z., where the North and South Korean borders meet and where the two governments meet to discuss matters on occasion. In reality, South Korean citizens are not permitted inside the D.M.Z. or J.S.A., so the production had to create a full-scale replica for the film. That replica was built at the Namyangju Film Studio in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, about an hour outside of Seoul. You can take a more in-depth look at the studio here.
The replica J.S.A. still stands today and looks identical to how it appeared in the film. The replica structure continues to be used by nearly any South Korean production looking to film scenes set within the J.S.A., but remains best known for being seen in the “Joint Security Area” film.
LOCATION: Namyangju Film Studio, 138, Bukhangang-ro 855beon-gil, Joan-myeon, Namyangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Upon approaching the replica J.S.A, you’ll see this sign in front.
Here is the actual J.S.A. recreation, which strongly resembles the real buildings.
This sign is posted next to one of the buildings, depicting the film’s famous final shot.
A closer look at the “North Korean” side. Visitors are of course welcome to freely cross the fictitious border, but the resemblance is so strong, it makes for a strange feeling walking across, as if you really are crossing the border.
The view back of the J.S.A. from the “North Korean” side.
This pavilion overlooking the J.S.A. was also seen in the film in one scene. It still appears exactly as it did in the film.
We leave you with a poster for the film, seen in another section of Namyangji Film Studio. The film studio offers unguided, public tours for a fairly low price. We recommend you pay a visit if you’re an international film fan and find yourself in South Korea.