In a Seoul neighbourhood where mostly refugees from the north of the divided country have settled, office worker Cheol-ho lives in poverty with his family – his pregnant wife, his unemployed brother, his mother, who is still traumatised by war, and his sister, a kept woman thanks to the American soldiers. Plagued by toothache, he wanders despondently through the film; it’s others who take the initiative – with tragic consequences.
After Kim Ki-young and Shin Sang-ok, Yu Hyun-mok is considered the third pioneer of post-war South Korean cinema. Influenced by Italian neo-realism, his seventh film Obaltan is seen as a milestone. Made during the brief period of democracy between the overthrow of the dictator Rhee Syng-man and the military coup of General Park Chung-hee, the film was swiftly censored for alleged sympathies with the enemy to the north and then sank into obscurity. The Korean Film Archive had just a single 35-mm print to work with for its brilliant restoration, which has made it possible to rediscover a lost masterpiece.
Republic of Korea 1961
108 min · Black/White
Kim Jin-kyu (Cheol-ho)Choi Moo-ryung (Yeong-ho)Seo Ae-ja (Myeong-suk)Kim Hye-jeong (Miri)Noh Hae-sin (Cheol-ho's mother)Moon Jung-suk (Cheol-ho's wife)
Born in 1925 in Hwang-hae Province, in what is now North Korea. While studying Korean, he began working as an assistant director. In addition to directing films, from 1963 Yu Hyun-mok also taught at Dongguk University. He took over as director of the Korean Film Archive in 1977, and in 1989, he was elected chairman of the Film Art Society of Korea, and became dean of the Department of Arts at Dongguk University. Yu Hyun-mok made forty-three feature films, and wrote several film history books. He died in 2009.Filmography (selection)
1956 Gyocharo (The Crossroad) 1957 Irobeorin Cheongchun (The Lost Youth) 1958 Insaeng Chaab (The Life Seized) 1959 Gureum-un Heulleogado (Even the Clouds Are Drifting) 1961 Obaltan (Aimless Bullet) 1962 Akkim Eobsi Juryeonda (To Give Freely) 1963 Pureun Ggum-eun Bitnari (The Blue Dream shall Shine) 1964 Anae-neun Gobaekhanda (Wife's Confession) 1965 Pureun Byeolarae Jamdeul-ge Hara (Sleep Under The Blue Star) · Sungyoja (Martyr) 1966 Teukgeup Gyeolhon Jakjeon (Secret Marriage Operation) 1967 Makcharo On Son-nim-deul (Guests Who Arrived on the Last Train) 1968 Kain-ui Huye (Descendants of Cain) · Mongddang Deuril Kkayo (I'll Give You Everything) · Akmong (Nightmare) 1969 Nado Ingan-i Doe-Ryeonda (I Would Like to Become a Human) 1970 Du Yeobo (Two Husbands) 1971 Bunlyegi (Bun-Rye's Story) 1975 Bulkkot (Flame) 1977 Mun (The Gate) 1978 Yetnal Yetjeok-e, Hweo-oi Hweo-i (Once upon a time, Hweo-oi Hweo-I) 1979 Jangma (Rainy Days) · Dahamggye Bureugo Sipeun Norae (A Song Everyone Wants to Sing Together) 1980 Saram-ui Adul (Son of Man) 1984 Sanghan Galdae (Ruinded Reeds) 1995 Malmijal (Mommy, Star, and Sea Anemone)
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017
Korean Film Archive