Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 14:30


Kim Soo-yong
Introduced by

Kim Soo-yong


Monday 24/06/2019


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Hyeolmaek was Kim Soo-yong’s first realist film, even though it was his 20th feature in the five years since his debut as a commercial director. It paved the way for his later realistic works reflecting the impoverished lives of Korea’s lower classes, films such as Jeo Haneul-edo Seulpeum-i (Sorrow Even Up in Heaven, 1965), Sanbul (Burning Mountain, 1977), Sagyeokjang-ui Aideul (Children in the Firing Range, 1967) and Dosi-lo Gan Cheonyeo (The Maiden Who Went to the City, 1981).
Hyeolmaek is set in a divided Korea and unfolds in Haebangchon (Liberation Village) in Seoul, where many of those displaced from North Korea have settled. The film follows an indigent widower (Kim Seong-ho) who gets by working as a housing agent, and his son (Shin Seong-il), who uses every trick in the book to earn some extra cash. Living next to them is the breadwinner of a family of four (Shin Young-kyun), who, though his job as a litter picker barely gives him enough to live on, must support his ailing wife, elderly mother and disabled daughter. His younger brother (Choi Moo-ryong), meanwhile, is an idealist who has fallen in love with a yanggongju (a ‘western princess’ – a female sex worker who primarily serves foreign soldiers, played by Kim Ji-mi).
Kim provides a realistic representation of the struggles faced by the people living in this poor shanty town, yet the film doesn’t paint the lives of these workers from an ideological standpoint, but rather from a humanist perspective. Kim Soo-yong’s directorial sensibility makes itself felt in many different ways. Each character has a distinct role and personality, while there are also intriguingly theatrical moments: in particular, the silhouette created by the window of the old couple’s house set against a sad ballad, and the funeral parade in the latter half of the film which makes noteworthy use of long takes and close-up shots. Furthermore, Kim employs a strongly anti-heroic approach, refraining from relying too much on any one particular character. The cast includes many of the 1960s’ most emblematic actors

Kim Jong-won

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima di Kim Yeong-su. Scen.: Lim Hee-jae. F.: Chun Jo-myuong. M.: Yu Jae-won. Scgf.: Park Seok-in. Mus.: Jeong Yoon-joo. Int.: Kim Seung-ho (Kim Deok-sam), Shin Seong-il (Geo-buk), Um Aing-ran (Bok-sun), Hwang Jung-seun (madre di Bok-sun), Kim Ji-mee (Ok-hui), Choi Nam-Hyun (padre di Bok-sun), Shin Young-kyun (il vicino), Choi Moo-ryong (suo fratello). Prod.: Hanyang Film Corporation. DCP. D.: 83’. Bn.