People in the Slum
Director: Bae Chang-ho
Cast: Kim Bo-yeon, Ahn Sung-ki, Kim Hee-ra
Film genre: Drama
Cert 18, 108 mins, 1982
Distributed by Korea Cinema
A shantytown miles south of Seoul has collected poor people and misfits from all over the country into its twisting alleyways and scruffy landscape. Myeong-suk, a fading beauty among the tough women there, is known as ‘black glove’: she wears that glove on a hand badly burnt in saving her baby boy from a horrible injury. Myeong-suk tries to raise her son, keep one step ahead of her dodgy husband and run a small grocery shop. But her ex-husband is out of jail, again, and drives his nice green taxi cab right back into her already complicated life.
For his debut film Bae planted a love triangle inside a Korean neo-realist setting where poverty pokes sharp elbows into the basic decency of ordinary people. The film’s success launched him into a career as the most popular director of the 1980s.