Berlinale: Programme

Film File

Berlinale Classics


Pursuit of Death

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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.

Im Kwon-taek

Republic of Korea 1980


102’ · Colour · 2K DCP

International premiere of the digitally restored version in 2K DCP


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


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

World Sales

Korean Film Archive, Seoul

DCP: Korean Film Archive, Seoul