Yeong-Ja's Heydays (Yeongja-ui jeonseongsidae) (1975)|
Director : Kim Ho-Seon
Production Company : Tae Chang Enterprises Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1975-02-10
Date of Theatrical Release : 1975-02-11
Running Time : 103 min.
Opening Theater : Kukdo Theater
Genre : Melodrama
Writer : Cho Seon-Jak
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Kim Seug-Ok
Producer : Kim Tae-Su
Director of PhotoGraphy : Jang Seok-Jun
Gaffer : Cha Jeong-Nam
Music : Jeong Seong-Jo
Editor : Yoo Jae-Won
Sound/Recording : Lee Jae-Wung
Song Jae-Ho, Yeom Bok-Sun, Choi Bul-Am, Do Keum-Bong
After returning from the Vietnam War, Chang-su (Song Jae-ho), who works as a scrubber at a public bath, runs into Young-ja (Yeom Bok-sun) at the police station. Three years ago, Chang-su was a laborer at an iron foundry. He met Young-ja at his boss's house, where she worked as a housemaid. He fell in love with the innocent and kindhearted Young-ja, and proposed to her before leaving for Vietnam. But while he was gone, Young-ja was exploited by the boss's scoundrel son, then kicked out of the house. Wishing to live an upstanding life, she got a job at a sewing factory, but her paltry wages were not enough to make ends meet. She even tried working in a bar at a friend's recommendation, but the work did not suit her. Young-ja became a conductor on a bus, only to lose one of her arms in a traffic accident and degenerate to the level of a prostitute. Reuniting with her for the first time in three years, Chang-su is shocked to discover that she is living an aimless life with no hope or prospects. He pours all his care into saving her, but she leaves him for the sake of his future. Several more years pass. Chang-su discovers Young-ja's whereabouts and goes to her house. When he sees that she is living a happy life with her husband (Lee Soon-jae), who also has a disability, and their child, he wishes her happiness and departs.
"Young-ja's personal misfortune is registered as a social tragedy born of reckless, unilateral urbanization and modernization. Thus, Yeong-Ja's Heydays acquires power as a critique of the times." (Kwon Eun-sun)
Yeong-Ja's Heydays is the most important of the "hostess melodramas" that were popular during the 1970s. It is also the debut film of director Kim Ho-seon, who, together with Ha Kil-jong and Lee Jang-ho, infused new life into the declining Korean cinema of the mid-1970s. At the time of its release, Yeong-Ja's Heydays drew the spotlight as a "youth film" rather than as a "hostess film" (the term did not come into use until 1977). It was recognized as the emergence of a new sensibility for a new generation, in that it observed and recorded the lives of the young with a fresh, innovative visual sense. The Weekly Chosun's assessment of the movie as "the story of scary kids, growing freely like weeds" plainly describes this public perception.
Since then, Yeong-Ja's Heydays has been regarded as the archetype of the hostess melodrama, which became popular soon thereafter. If the hostess melodrama is a film genre that depicts the process of a young, lower-class woman's descent into despair, Yeong-Ja's Heydays is its most definitive example. Young-ja treads the typical path that many young women who came to the city from the agricultural villages were compelled to travel: from housemaid to bus conductor, and eventually to the brothel. Her simple dream to live an honest life through legitimate labor is frustrated by reality. She struggles not to let go of the thread of hope, but she loses her arm and falls into prostitution in her despair. In Seoul, the modernized metropolis, Young-ja's dream was impossible from the first. Her disability is in fact the disability of the time in which she lives; in this context, the title of Yeong-Ja's Heydays takes on a strongly ironic and critical meaning.
When it was released, Yeong-Ja's Heydays was a huge box office hit: it drew an audienceof 360,000, surpassing the top foreign film at the time, The Sting, by some 30,000.
Director Bio: Kim Ho-seon (1941- )
Born in 1941. He led the "Visual Age" movement along with director Ha Kil-jong during the decline of the Korean movie industry in the 1970s, revitalizing Korean cinema. He debuted with Hwannyeo(Hwannyeo) (1974) and in 1975, directed his most famous work, Yeong-Ja's Heydays (Yeongja-ui jeonseongsidae) (1975) about the fall of a country girl who comes to the big city, Seoul. He made Winter Woman (Gyeo-ul-yeoja) (1977) about the new sexual morality brought on by modernization, which caused much heated debate for and against, and it was a box office success. It was through the success of this movie that the Korean movie industry became newly invigorated. Afterward, he made Admiration of Nights (Bam-ui changa) (1979), Winter Woman Part II (Gyeowul yeoja je2bu) (1982), Seoul Rainbow (Seoul mujigae) (1989) and Death song(Sa-ui chanmi) (1991).