Sog.: From the novel Diario di un viaggio a Mujin (1964) by Kim Seung-ok. Scen.: Kim Seung-ok. F.: Jang Seok-jun. M.: Yu Jae-won. Scgf.: Park Seok-in. Mus.: Choi Hyeong-rae. Int.: Shin Seong-il (Yoon Gi-jun), Yoon Jeong-hee (Hah In-suk), Kim Chung-chul (Mr. Park), Lee Nak-hoon (Cho Han-su), Lee Bin-hwa (moglie di Gi-jun). Prod.: Taechang Heungeop Co.. DCP. D.: 79’. Bn.
Between 1958 and 1999 Kim Soo-yong directed an astonishing number of over 100 films. He was at his most active during the 1960s, directing several features per year, covering a diverse range of genres and styles, from comedy to melodrama. However, he is still most often referred to as the godfather of mun-ye (literature-based) film. Many of Kim’s most acclaimed works, such as Angae, Gaetmaeul (The Seashore Village, 1965), Yujeong (Affection, 1966) and Sanbul (Burning Mountain, 1967), are adaptations of novels. By using stories that already possessed a solid narrative structure, Kim was able to create works that retained a feeling of narrative completeness, resulting in both critical and commercial success. However, Kim’s significance within the history of Korean cinema arose not only from his reputation as a popular mainstream director, but also from his ability to craft his own individual style, reflecting a unique sensitivity and sense of identity carefully woven into the fabric of his modernist filmmaking.
Angae is adapted from Kim Seung-ok’s much celebrated short story Mujin-gihaeng (Record of a Journey to Mujin) and is the first work in which Kim wholeheartedly employed the language of modernist cinema. The storyline is simple: Gi-jun, who owes his successful position as managing director of a pharmaceutical company to his wife, pays a visit to his hometown of Mujin. Using flashbacks, voiceover and clashes of different perspectives, the film depicts Gi-jun’s feelings of ambivalence and his fractured identity, split between his past as a draft evader and his sterile middle-class present. Gi-jun’s inner void and pessimism coalesces with the peculiar mood of his hometown. What appears as an ordinary village becomes transformed through the film, transcending its geographical setting in Korea and symbolising the disorder and disruption symptomatic of modern society.