San Sebastian announces South Korean retrospective

Selection to focus on golden era films of Fifties and Sixties

by Amber Wilkinson

The Housemaid directed by Kim Ki-young
The Housemaid directed by Kim Ki-young Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival

Editor's Note: It has now been announced that this retrospective has now been pushed back until 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic

The 68th edition of the San Sebastian Festival has announced it will dedicate a retrospective to the South Korean cinema of the Fifties and Sixties.

The season, Flowers In hell: The Golden Age Of Korean Cinema will feature more than 20 titles and is likely to prove popular after Bong Joon Ho's Parasite won the Best Picture Oscar this year.

Highlights include The Housemaid (1960) by Kim Ki-young, widely accepted as one of the masterpieces in the history of South Korean cinema along wiht chronicles of life in post-war South Korea such as Flower in Hell (1958) and the winner of the Jury Prize at the Berlin Festival, The Coachman (1961), which became the first South Korean film to land an award at an international film festival.

Other genres represented include film noir Black Hair (1964), horror vlick The Devil's Stairway (1964) and Manchurian western Farewell To The Duman River (1962)

The retrospective also recovers the work of the first two women directors - Park Nam-ok (The Widow, 1955) and Hong Eun-won (A Woman Judge, 1962), as well as the country’s first animated feature film, A Story of Hong Gil-dong (1967).

The Provisional List of titles is below:

  • Mimang-in (The Widow), Park Nam-ok (1955)
  • Jayubu-in (Madame Freedom), Han Hyung-mo (1956)
  • Jiokhwa (Flower in Hell), Shin Sang-ok (1958)
  • Yeosajang (A Female Boss), Han Hyung-mo (1959)
  • Obaltan (Aimless Bullet), Yu Hyun-mok (1960)
  • Hanyeo (The Housemaid), Kim Ki-young (1960)
  • Romance Papa, Shin Sang-ok (1960)
  • Mabu (The Coachman), Kang Dae-jin (1961)
  • Yeonsangun (Prince Yeonsan), Shin Sang-ok (1961)
  • Dumangang-a Jal Itgeora (Farewell To The Duman River), Im Kwon-taek (1962)
  • Yeopansa (A Woman Judge), Hong Eun-won (1962)
  • Kim Yaggug-ui Ttaldeul (The Daughters Of Kim’s Pharmacy), Yu Hyun-mok (1963)
  • Doraoji Anneun Haebyong (The Marines Who Never Returned), Lee Man-hee (1963)
  • Hyeolmaek (Bloodline), Kim Soo-yong (1963)
  • Geom-eunmeoli (Black Hair), Lee Man-hee (1964)
  • Ma-ui Gyedan (The Devil’s Stairway), Lee Man-hee (1964)
  • Man-bal-ui Cheong Chun (The Barefooted Young), Kim Kee-duk (1964)
  • Chunmong (The Empty Dream), Yu Hyun-mok (1965)
  • Sal-inma (A Bloodthirsty Killer), Lee Yong-min (1965)
  • Namgwabug (North And South), Kim Kee-duk (1965)
  • Gaetma-eul (The Seashore Village), Kim Soo-yong (1965)
  • Angae (Mist), Kim Soo-yong (1967)
  • Gwi-ro (Homebound), Lee Man-hee (1967)
  • Hong Gil-dong (A Story of Hong Gil-dong), Shin Dong-hun (1967)

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