The plot draws on No Gun Ri victims' experiences, but the characters are all fictional. The film opens with scenes establishing the ordinary domestic rhythms of a midcentury Korean village, with children at play, men relaxing over a board game, and a young teacher leading her pupils in practice for a singing contest. But the fighting front of the war, which began several weeks earlier, soon intrudes as combat moves south.
The United States has hastily dispatched insufficiently trained troops from Japan to join the South Korean army in defending against North Korean invaders. As the defenders reel in retreat, American soldiers order the villagers to abandon their homes and head south. Some 500 begin the trek, with children on their backs and carts laden with belongings.
Rumors have spread among American soldiers that North Korean infiltrators are disguised among South Korean refugees. As the villagers struggle southward along a railroad track, they are suddenly attacked by American warplanes. Many are killed. In the ensuing chaos, U.S. soldiers force hundreds of survivors into the underpass of a railroad bridge, and receive orders to fire on them, despite one soldier's communication to his superiors that they're only civilians. Over the next three days, in heart-wrenching scenes of carnage, most of the refugees are killed. The few survivors, mostly children, emerge from under piles of bodies as the Americans retreat and advancing North Korean soldiers discover the gruesome scene. (Survivors estimated 400 people were killed.)
In the denouement, survivors and villagers who were never trapped under the bridge return to their homes as the tides of war ebb and flow. One of the last is a boy, assumed dead by his mother, who has carried his small sister on his back for miles from their southern refuge. As the credits roll, A Little Pond ends with a kind of dream sequence in which children and villagers brought back to life sing and applaud the contest theme song they never performed.
After reading the 2003 Korean translation of The Bridge at No Gun Ri, a book by Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press journalists who confirmed the massacre, executive producer Lee Eun of Myung Films was determined to tell the story on the screen. Additional background came from Do You Know Our Sorrow?, a 1994 Korean-language book by Chung Eun-yong, whose two children were killed at No Gun Ri.
Noted theater director Lee Saang-woo joined the project, directing his first film. He and producer Lee Woo-jung spent three years collecting material through interviews with No Gun Ri survivors and other sources. Lee Eun formed an autonomous unit, Nogunri Production, in May 2006 to produce the movie, and the team recruited such leading actors as Song Kang-ho (of Thirst and The Host) and Moon So-ri (Oasis and A Good Lawyer's Wife). Because the story's controversial nature discouraged investors, many of the cast and crew donated their services, some even bringing family members along to play villager roles when the three months of filming began in August 2006. "I'll take pride in myself for a long time for taking part in this film," actor Kim Roi-ha told a reporter. Director Lee chose as the movie's title the name of a highly popular South Korean political protest song of the 1980s.
A long post-production period ended in March 2009, and the film premiered on Oct. 8, 2009, at the 14th Busan International Film Festival in Busan, South Korea.Jiang - Shin Myung-cheol
Jiang's mother - Jeon Hye-jin
Jiang's sister (little sister)- Park Chae Yeun Kim Ji HoJiang's uncle - Lee Dae-yeon
Jaya - Kim Eui-jin
Jaya's grandfather - Choi Jong-ryul
Jaya's father - Kim Seung-wook
Jaya's mother - Lee Seung-bi
Gaby - Son Hyung-soo
Kooli - Jung Sung-hoon
Kooli's father - Lee Sung-min
Kooli's mother - Kim Duk-eun
Mr. Moon - Moon Sung-keun
Hyun - Kim Ji-hyun
Wook - Min Sung-wook
Mr. Kim, a bachelor - Kim Doo-yong
Mr. Min - Min Bok-ki
Mr. Min's wife - Lee Hwa-jin
Mr. Min's father - Min Jung-ki
Mr. Kim - Kim Se-dong
Mr. Seo - Seo Dong-gab
Mr. Park - Park Kwang-jung
Mr. Park's wife - Kim Jung-young
Mr. Kang - Kang Shin-il
Mr. Kang's wife - Hwang Mi-sun
Police officer - Song Kang-ho (special appearance)
Refugee - Moon So-ri (special appearance)
The film was shown at four international film festivals:2009 (14th) Busan International Film Festival - gala presentation, October 8 (world premiere)
2010 (9th) New York Asian Film Festival - June 25-July 8
2010 (14th) Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal - July 8–28
2010 (5th) London Korean Film Festival - November 5–23
A Little Pond won no awards at its debut festival in Busan. Upon commercial release in South Korea, The Korea Herald commented that the film "got a lukewarm response from the local press and movie critics." In North America, Variety described it as "direct, uncomplicated and incredibly moving," and the Montreal Gazette as a "brave, handsomely mounted film." At the BeyondHollywood website, British reviewer James Mudge called A Little Pond an "admirable, if gruelling effort to bring more attention to a truly appalling incident. ... a sterling piece of work."