Bloodline

혈맥

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Film info

Director: Kim Soo-yong
Cast: Kim Seung-ho, Hwang Jung-seun, Shin Seong-il, Kim Ji-mee
Film genre: Drama
Cert 18, 83 mins, 1963
Distributed by Hanyang Foundation

Bloodline is set in a divided Korea and unfolds in Seoul’s Haebangchon district, where many of those displaced from North Korea have settled. The film follows an indigent widower (Kim Seong-ho) who gets by working as a housing agent, and his son (Shin Seong-il), who uses every trick in the book to earn some extra cash. Living next to them is the breadwinner (Shin Young-kyun) of a family of four, who, though his job as a litter picker barely gives him enough to live on, must support his ailing wife, elderly mother and disabled daughter.

Kim Soo-yong provides a realistic representation of the struggles faced by the people living in this poor shanty town, yet the film doesn’t paint the lives of these workers from an ideological standpoint, but rather from a humanist perspective. Kim’s directorial sensibility makes itself felt in many different ways. Each character has a distinct role and personality, while there are also several intriguingly theatrical moments. Furthermore, Kim employs a strongly anti-heroic approach, refraining from relying too much on any one particular character. The cast includes many of the 1960s’ most emblematic actors.