The March of Fools
Director: Ha Gil-jong
Cast: Yun Mun-seop, Ha Jae-young, Lee Young-ok, Kim Ill-young, Kim Yeong-suk
105 mins, 1975
College comedy under dictatorship – two male students seek love and happiness in Ha Gil-jong’s best known film, a box office smash in South Korea.
A much beloved Korean cinema classic from 1975, The March of Fools starts off as a bawdy comedy, as two slacker students get drunk and try to get laid, with varying degrees of success. Slowly the tone shifts into melancholy, as the two men consider their destinies, in a repressive society where they feel out of place. Unlike many contemporary student comedies, Ha’s film is equally interested in the lives of its female characters, whose hopes and dreams are also threatened by their limited opportunities.
Although censored for its depiction of life under military dictatorship, The March of Fools remains a unique and exhilarating story of youth in crisis. The film’s success led to a sequel, Byongtae and Youngja (1979), which was to be Ha’s final film.