Flame in the Valley (Sanbul) (1967)|
Director : Kim Su-Yong
Production Company : Tae Chang Enterprises Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1967-04-22
Running Time : 80 min.
Opening Theater : Myeong Bo Theater
Genre : Literary Art
Writer : Cha Beom-Seok
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Shin Bong-Seung
Producer : Kim Tae-Su
Executive Producer : Ahn Seung-Jun, Kim In-Ki
Director of PhotoGraphy : Hong Dong-Hyeok
Gaffer : Sohn Young-Cheol
Music : Jeong Yun-Ju
Art Director : Lee Bong-Seon
Editor : Yoo Jae-Won
Sound/Recording : Lee Kyeong-Sun
Shin Young-Kyun, Do Keum-Bong, Joo Jeung-Nyeo, Hwang Jeong-Sun
The Korean War breaks out and all the men are sent into battle, where they either die or go missing. The women, left alone for long periods of time, begin to long for a man's embrace. Then one day, a North Korean guerilla named Kyu-bok (Shin Young-kyun), who was a teacher before the war, sneaks into the bamboo field behind Jeom-rye's house, in a mountain village where only women are left. He coerces Jeom-rye (Joo Jeung-nyeo), a widow living with her mother-in-law (Han Eun-jin), into giving him shelter. Jeom-rye hides him and provides him with food, and the two come to have physical relations. Another widow, Sa-wol (Do Kum-bong), begins to suspect Jeom-rye's strange behavior and discovers the truth. In order to satisfy her own desires, Sa-wol threatens to report Kyu-bok to the authorities and forces him to sleep with her. Unfortunately, Sa-wol becomes with child, and word of her pregnancy spreads throughout the village. Sa-wol commits suicide, and Kyu-bok suffocates to death when the police set fire to the bamboo field in order to exterminate guerilla fighters. Jeom-rye weeps as she caresses the lifeless Kyu-bok.
"A film that densely depicts the instinctive desire and tragic end of human beings in extreme circumstances"
Flame in the Valley was adapted from a well-known play of the same title by Cha Bum-suk, published in the literary periodical Hyundae Munhak in 1963. It vividly represents the lives of those who are wounded and sacrificed by war and ideology, from a perspective that differs from that of most existing war movies. Like The Seashore Village (Gaenma-eul), Flame in the Valley maintains a unique atmosphere and viewpoint in that it depicts the desires of women in a mountain village emptied of men by the ongoing war. In particular, the contrast between Kyu-bok, who turns out to be helpless and indecisive, and the two widows Jeom-rye and Sa-wol, who actively reveal their sexual cravings, explicitly illustrates the creation of new hierarchical relationships and vigorous expression of desire that can occur under the special circumstances of war. Also adding to the instinctive yet tragic emotional timbre of the film are Do Kum-bong's voluptuous performance as the widow who blackmails Kyu-bok to satisfy her sexual desire, and Shin Young-kyun's impassioned turn as he bitterly cries, "Am I a beast?" at finding himself fed and used for sex like a mere household animal.
Director Bio: Kim Soo-yong (1929- )
He was born in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do, in 1929. He graduated from Seoul National University of Education and made his directorial debut with the black and white film, A Henpecked Husband (Gongcheoga) (1958). Kim Soo-yong is not a director that can be easily classified or categorized. During the 60s and 70s when he was most active, he experimented with formality and adopted novels and plays, receiving acclaim for these "Literature Films" which have since been recognized as some of the greatest films in Korean cinematic history. In The Seashore Village (Gaenma-eul) (1965) and Flame in the Valley(Sanbul) (1967), he explored themes of human ambition and society. And through Mist (Angae) (1967), Night Journey (Yahaeng) (1977), and A Splendid Outing (Hwalyeohan oechul) (1977), he showed his modernist side by breaking existing notions of genre and attempting formal experimentation. He retired as an act of protest when his film, Jung-kwang's Nonsense (Junggwang-ui heoteunsori) (1986), was censored in 10 different places. He made a comeback with The Apocalypse of Love (Sarang Ui Muksirok) (1995) and Scent of Love (Chimhyang) (1999), but hasn't directed any films since.