VOD Choice in September

2019-09-01 ~ 2019-09-30
VOD Choice in September
The VOD Choice of September recommended by the Korean Film Archive staff. Here are three classic melodramas that are filled with women’s desire and craving for love.

Films
  • 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
  • 02. You Become a Star, too (Neo ttohan byeol-i doe-eo) Lee Jang-ho, 1975
    This film is known for its clumsy imitation of THE EXORCIST(William Friedkin, 1973). But if we see the process of completing the scenario for this film, we can realize that ‘the exorcism’ in the film is nothing but material. The film's concept was "a mystery horror film that deals with a series of men's deaths around a beautiful woman, Mi-woo" as when it first submitted a film production permit to the Ministry of Culture and Public Information. If it is true, this film is another version of HEAVENLY HOMECOMING TO STARS, which was directed by Lee Jang-ho and was the top box office hit of 1974. A woman named Mi-woo in the film, like Kyung-ah, is abused and abandoned by countless men. While Kyung-ah in HEAVENLY HOMECOMING TO STARS chose to die alone for it, Mi-woo dreams of a cruel revenge after her own death. In the same time she hopes that someone to sympathize with her terrible misfortune. Therefore the way of exorcizing her is never violent in this film. Once again, this is never mystery horror film though it looks like a horror film. If you want to see mystery horror film, you had better search another one. 
    (Lee Soo-youn, Researcher for Korean Film History, Korean Film Archive) RECOMMENDED
  • 03. Lethe's Love Song (Lete-ui yeonga) Jang Gil-su, 1987
    The film is based on a novel of the same title, written by Lee Mun-yeol, which was a bestselling novel of 1983. It is a little different from the novel, but it well portrays the affection of hopeless love. In the opening scene, heroine Hi-won says "I will be the wife of the other guy tomorrow" with the melody of a tinge of sadness. From this monologue we can see that she has fallen hopelessly in love with another man. It also describes how affectionate love was, but also shows how the real world forces Hi-won, the protagonist, to part with the ideal world which is filled with real love, and to have no choice but to cross Lethe's River. She reminds us of Werther, the main character of Goethe's novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther(Die Leiden des jungen Werthers). Werther couldn't cross the river and eventually killed herself in deep sorrow, but on the contrary, Hi-won who never gave up and continued her life across the river. It seems that human beings are forced to make choice at every moment whether to cross the river of oblivion or not. 
    (Son Kisoo, Sound Restoration Engineer of Korean Film Archive) RECOMMENDED

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