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A police inspector is investigating the murder of a brewery owner. His search leads him 25 years into the past, back to the Korean War, to the final stand made by a group of Communist partisans. In his 36th feature film in just ten years, director Lee Doo-yong violates all conventions: a non-conformist, melancholy loner of a detective, who identifies with the tragic fate of a former North-Korean fighter to the point of self-destruction; a corrupt justice system and an incompetent police force; rapes and sexual assaults – the censors lopped nearly an hour off the epic running time of Lee’s most daring film. Choehuui jeung-in was made in the winter of 1979-80, between the assassination of autocratic president Park Chung-hee and the subsequent dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan, at an all-too-brief moment of hope that better days might come. It is a tough-minded odyssey through provincial South Korea, through rain and cold, filth and mud and bitter poverty; through the collective bad conscience of a society in which some strive greedily for power while others stay silent and thus complicit. (Christoph Terhechte)

Production: Sekyeong Films, Seoul
Screenplay: Yoon Sam-yook
Camera: Jung Il-sung
Cast: Hah Myung-joong, Jeong Yun-hui, Choi Bool-am, Hyun Kil-soo
Running time: 155 min
Language: Korean

Photo: © Korean Film Archive

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