‘Gook’ Director Justin Chon on the 1992 L.A. Riots (Video)

Sundance 2017: “A lot of the Korean experience gets swept under the rug,” Chon tells TheWrap

Last Updated: January 27, 2017 @ 6:49 PM

“Gook” director and star Justin Chon knows from personal experience what the 1992 Los Angeles Riots were like.

The Southern California native’s family owned a business in Compton, Calif., that was looted on the last day of the April 29-May 4 upheaval, which was sparked by the acquittal of the police officers videotaped beating Rodney King.

“I felt a need to tell the Korean perspective of what the riots were like because a lot of the Korean experience gets swept under the rug,” Chon told TheWrap at the Sundance Film Festival, where his film premiered to great reviews.

“Gook,” which draws heavily from Chon’s experiences, examines the racial tension between the African American majority of South Central Los Angeles and Korean business owners and neighbors as the city descends into chaos.

Those tensions were the subject of much artistic output of the era, particularly by hip-hop artists, notably in Ice Cube’s 1991 song “Black Korea.”

But the Korean-American perspective on those events has rarely been presented in mainstream media, something Chon aimed to correct on the eve of the riots’ 25th anniversary.

Watch the full video above.