A Road to Sampo (Sampoganeun gil) (1975)|
Director : Lee Man-Hee
Production Company : Yun Bang Films Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1975-03-31
Date of Theatrical Release : 1975-05-23
Running Time : 95 min.
Opening Theater : Kukdo Theater
Genre : Literary Art
Writer : Hwang Seok-Young
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Yoo Dong-Hun
Producer : Joo Dong-Jin
Executive Producer : Choi Chun-JI
Director of PhotoGraphy : Kim Deok-Jin
Gaffer : Sohn Young-Cheol
Music : Choi Chang-Kwon
Art Director : Cho Kyeong-Hwan
Editor : Jang Hyeon-Su
Baek Il-Seob, Kim Jin-Kyu, Moon Suk,. Kim Ki-Beom, Kim Yong-Hak, Seok In-Su
Adapted from Hwang Seok-young's novel, A Road to Sampo is the final and posthumous work of director Lee Man-hee. Young construction worker Young-dal (Baek Il-seop) meets a middle-aged man named Jeong (Kim Jin-kyu), who is on his way back to his hometown after serving time in prison and wandering from one construction site to another. It has been ten years since Jeong has seen his hometown of Sampo. Young-dal and Jeong meet Baek-hwa (Moon Suk), a runaway bar hostess, at a restaurant in town and the three of them begin their journey together. Young-dal and Baek-hwa, who argued constantly at first, soon become attached to each other, and the group travels to the train station, each reminiscing about his or her past as they go. At the train station, from which the train to Sampo departs, Young-dal and Baek-hwa part ways. Arriving in Sampo, Jeong is shocked to see how his hometown has changed.
"I cannot fathom the mystery of why, at a moment when a timeless masterpiece could have been born and thus Korean cinematic history could have entered a revolutionary new era, the game ended in a miserable defeat." (Ha Kil-jong)
Although in his critique Ha Kil-jong saw A Road to Sampo as only half a masterpiece, there is no doubt that it still deserves a place among Korea's most important films. This is not simply because it is the posthumous work of Lee Man-hee, but also because it is one of the few road movies made in Korea, and because its best qualities like the warm gaze it directs toward vagabonds alienated from modernization and progress, and visuals that harmoniously capture both human characters and natural landscapes against the backdrop of a vast field of snow are sufficient to rank it among the representative works of Korean cinema. Although the overall tone of the movie is somewhat inconsistent, due to an unbalanced mix of experimentation and sentimentality, triteness and novelty, it is hard to deny the emotional impact delivered by Lee Man-hee's uniquely profound and affectionate gaze.
- Director Lee Man-hee collapsed during the editing of the movie. He was admitted to a hospital, and passed away soon thereafter. According to Baek Kyeol, who wrote the screenplay, Lee's health was already at its worst when he applied himself to the project and he may well have known that he might not live to see A Road to Sampo completed.
Director Bio: Lee Man-hee (1931-1975)
Director Lee Man-hee was born in Hawangsimni-dong Seoul, in 1931, the youngest of 8 children. He participated in the Korean War deciphering enemy codes and duringthe years between 1956 and 1961, he worked as an assistant director under the directors Ahn Jong-hwa, Park Gu and Kim Myeong-je. He made his directorial debut in 1961 with Kaleidoscope (Jumadeung) with the support of Kim Seung-ho, one of the most famous actors of the era. Afterward, he proved that he could make movies that were commercially successful with Call 112(112reul Dollyeora) (1962). He opened a new age of Korean noir and horror with Black Hair (Geomeun Meori) (1964) and The Devil's Stairway (Mauigyedan) (1964). He also opened up new possibilities in Korean art films with Full Autumn (Manchu) (1966)and continued on this stylistic path with Homebound (Gwiro) (1967) and Holiday (Hyuil). With the decline of the Korean movie industry in the 1970s, he received fewer and fewer opportunities to make movies and this coincided with a deterioration of his health and financial situation. He died of liver cirrhosis as he was finishing his film, A Road to Sampo (Sampoganeun gil) (1975).