Pursuit of Death
Ill and indigent, ex-policeman Song is under lock and key in a rehab centre. There he meets another human wreck whom he recognises as his old adversary Jagko. When he was an officer with the South Korean forces during the Korean War, Song arrested the guerrilla fighter, but Jagko quickly escaped. Song was demoted for losing his prisoner, triggering his inexorable downward spiral and an obsessive 30-year search for the fugitive. But Jagko did not fare much better after his escape … Korean director Im Kwon-taek, who was awarded an Honorary Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlinale, uses flashbacks to tell the story of an obsessive relationship. The film’s (anti-)heroes reflect the tragedy of their divided country. With forays into action scenes and placid landscapes, the narrative of an unforgiving struggle between two men moves towards its deadly conclusion. Im Kwon-taek uses picture-in-picture images of the emerging détente between the USA and the USSR to strip bare the incongruity of the Korean conflict and with that, Korean cinema said farewell to the Cold War.
by Im Kwon-taek
with Kim Hee-ra, Choi Yun-seok, Bang Hee, Kim Jeong-ran, Park Ae-na
South Korea 1980 Korean 102’ Colour


  • Kim Hee-ra
  • Choi Yun-seok
  • Bang Hee
  • Kim Jeong-ran
  • Park Ae-na


Director Im Kwon-taek
Screenplay Song Kil-han based on a story by Kim Jung-hui
Cinematography Koo Jung-mo
Editing Kim Hee-su
Art Director Kim Seong-bae
Music Kim Young-dong
Sound Lee Young-kil
Producer Kang Dae-jin

World sales

Korean Film Archive, Seoul

Additional information

DCP: Korean Film Archive, Seoul