The Man With Three Coffins

나그네는 길에서도 쉬지 않는다

The Man With Three Coffins Website
Film info

Director: Lee Jang-ho
Cast: Lee Bo-hee, Kim Myung-kon, Ko Seol-bong, Chu Seok-yang
Film genre: Romance
Cert 18, 105 mins, 1987
Distributed by Lee Jang-ho

A gloomy man wanders the wintry eastern sea coast bearing the ashes of his wife. Her home had been in North Korea, and he feels compelled somehow to scatter her remains somewhere up there despite the division of the nations and the heavily fortified border. On his journey he will encounter three women all seemingly marked by the shadow of his wife’s death, perhaps possessed by her spirit.

This complex, beautiful and puzzling film is Lee Jang-ho’s most accomplished literary adaptation, transforming the uncanny fiction of Lee Je-ha into a visually haunting classic. Lee Bo-hee plays the wife, in flashbacks, then reappears as a part-time prostitute and also as a nurse taking a dying old man on his own impossible trajectory North. This is a very Korean – therefore universal – story of divided selves and sundered nations. The final shamanic rite by the riverside is one of the most mysterious scenes in Korean cinema.