01. Burning Mountain ( Sanbul ) Kim Soo-yong, 1967
In the midst of the Korean War, Kyu-bok, a former teacher who escaped from North Korean partisan came to a village by accident and hide himself behind a bamboo grove. It is the beginning of a tragedy. This film, which starts from a play by playwright Cha Bum-seok, is created with interesting video text by director Kim Soo-yong and cinematographer Hong Dong-hyuk, both of whom boast excellent visual acumen. It is worth noting to the Point-Of-View shot which is finely designed, especially in the beginning of the film.
The film begins with a scene in which women in the village, filled with the screen of the Cinemascope, bring grain to the North Korean military personnel. When they look at the camera and tell their suffering, the point of view of the camera represents the North Korean army’s eye. This is a subtle intended setting to describe compressively the scars of ideological warfare that swept through the village. At the next scene, Kyu-bok, who has come down to the village, leads a Jeom-rye into the bamboo grove. When she runs away and falls down, the camera turned to expose her skirt inside (Point-Of-View of Kyu-bok). Sexual desires that have been suppressed during the war excited between the two over this incident. Having sex with him, she looks up at the sky (Point-Of-View of Jeom-rye). Then the camera comes back down to the ground and focus on the two who have finished their affair. This is an important change of view that this film has keen edge of women’s sexual desire. BURNING MOUNTAIN could be a film comparable to THE SEASHORE VILAGE because both films deal with women’s own natural desires in the wide screen.
The highlight of this film is a splendid cinematography that is reminiscent of RASHOMON by Akira Kurosawa, 1950. The contrast between light and shadow permeated the bamboo grove shows that black-and-white filming of Korean films in the mid to late 1960’s has reached the point of art. If you've seen this film through VOD, I suggest you watch it one more time in the theater screen.
(Jung Jong-hwa, Researcher and Leader of Korean Film Institute, Korean Film Archive) RECOMMENDED