03. The Last Witness (Choehu-ui jeung-in) Lee Doo-yong, 1980
I hate the long film, so when I realized that the running time of this film is 154 minutes, I gave a sigh. It was so long that I worried about how many times to share it, however I ended up sitting down and watching it all the way at once. I'd like to say that it's that much fun.
The film is based on a novel of the same title, written by Kim Sung-jong, portraying the tragedy of the Korean War in a hard-boiled style. The main character is a detective, Mr.Oh (Hah Myung-joong) who always wears a bushy hair and a full coat. He is in charge of the murder of the owner of the brewery, of which complicated history was hidden behind the incident. At first, he thought that it was a simple incident but it was not true at all. While he tries to track down clues of the case, the film portrays the tragedy of the Korean War slowly, alternating between present and past. The plot is quite complicated, the characters are quite numerous, and the time range of the film is quite long. Despite these disadvantage, this film controls over all of them completely giving the audience constant curiosity about what will happen next. If you read the storyline of this film and you think you've seen it somewhere, it's probably THE LAST WITNESS(HEUKSUSEON)(2001) directed by Bae Chang-ho, the remake of this film. If I choose between the two films, I will rather choose THE LAST WITNESS by Lee Doo-yong. Additionally, there's one interesting thing about this film. Hah Myung-joong who plays the main character is very handsome and smokes a lot in the decadent moods like a superstar of the Hollywood film noir. In contrast, Choi Bool-am, who plays Ba-wu, has not been any different from what he is now even though it was a film 40 years ago.
(Yu Seong-kwan, Leader of Policy and Planning Team, Korean Film Archive)