Classics Revisited

A Bonanza

a-bonanza
Film info

1961. Directed by Chung Chang-wha , starring Kim Seung-ho, Hwang Hae, Um Aing-ran , 100 mins.

A young sailor arrives in Busan Harbour; an outrageous-looking, woolly bear of a man appears in downtown Busan with a shotgun over one shoulder, a heavy knapsack thrown over the other; a tough-looking young woman joins her friend in robbing a naïve fat man in a suit. The strands of character and story will slowly converge, well after the audience, tuned to the coincidences and mistaken identities of melodrama, has recognised that these three have a shared history and are fated to meet and reconcile.

By Mark Morris

Sunset on the Sarbin River

Sunset on The Sarbin River M
Film info

1965. Directed by Chung Chang-wha , starring Shin Young-kyun, Kim Hye-jung, Nam Goong Won, Yoon Il-bong , 120 mins.

A Korean college student, his name japanised as Masumoto, feels compelled to join the Imperial Army and do his bit for the war. To his fellow Korean recruits, he seems a martinet, much too eager to try to prove himself as the equal of the Japanese. He gets promoted and rejoins the unit as officer in charge. They are despatched to Burma where they are visited by a group of young Korean women of a ‘teishintai’: comfort women. On the way to the front, their truck is attacked, on the road again, they encounter a beautiful Burmese woman with her child. They give her a lift, and she drops a note about their movements to waiting guerrillas of the new independence army. She and Masumoto fall in love, while her guerrilla husband swears revenge for the death of their son at the hands of Japanese soldiers led by our hero. Only one of the triangle will be standing at the film’s end.

By Mark Morris

A Swordsman in the Twilight

Swordsman in the Twilight M
Film info

1967. Directed by Chung Chang-wha , starring Nam Goong Won, Yoon Jung-hee, Heo Jang-kang, Park Am , 105 mins.

A mysterious swordsman wanders into town. He saves a girl from abduction by brutal policemen. One of them recognises him and runs to the local government compound to give warning: Kim Dae-won has returned, no doubt seeking vengeance. Kim attacks the compound, killing or capturing all the police, and takes the county governor hostage. As the night wears on, he gradually unfolds his story to the bound hostages. He and his family became collateral damage in the political and social strife caused by Jang Hui-bin and her allies. He now awaits the arrival of the ruthless Jang family ally, O Ki-ryeong, the man who plotted the destruction of his loving wife and little girl. They meet in a deadly showdown. Kim Dae-won wanders back out of town.

By Mark Morris