Director: Park Kwang-Su
Cast: Moon Sung-keun, Park Joong-hoon, Shim Hye-jin, Hwang Hae
Film genre: Drama
102 mins, 2019
Opening on a pitch black screen, we begin to hear a voice: it is the words of the mother of the protagonist, Han Tae-hoon, a student who becomes involved in the Korean democratisation movement of the 1980s. The woman’s voice stands for both mother and country, a land then plunged into darkness. Tae-hoon flees from the authorities using a fake identity and seeks refuge in a mining village, but the state-repressive forces are not the only ghost he is trying to escape - the lingering thought of the possible failure of the democratisation movement never ceases to haunt him. Tae-hoon does not belong in his chosen hideout; his presence starkly reveals the undeniable tensions between intellectuals and blue-collar workers, a division permeating through the minjung movement. Ten years after the Gwangju Uprising, Park Kwangu-su revisited that traumatic period in the history of contemporary Korea. Park’s early filmography echoes the same social tensions and Tae-hoon, like his other male protagonists (see Chilsu and Mansu, 1988; To the Starry Island, 1993), poignantly embodies the opposition between the individual and the masses.