Scorching Sun (Ttaengbyeot) (1984)|
Director : Hah Myung-Joong
Production Company : Hwa Chun Trading Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1984-11-08
Date of Theatrical Release : 1985-08-01
Running Time : 90 min.
Genre : Costume Drama
Writer : Kim Yu-Jeong
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Lee Young-Il, Na Han-Bong
Producer : Park Jong-Chan
Director of PhotoGraphy : Jeong Kwang-Seok
Gaffer : Kang Kwang-Ho
Music : Kim Young-Dong
Art Director : Kim Young-Hun, Cho Hyeon-Ju
Editor : Hyeon Dong-Chun
Hah Myung-Joong, Cho Yong-Won, Lee Hye-Young, Ju Sang-Ho
Scorching Sun is set in the 1930s, when Korea was still under Japanese occupation. Chun-ho (Hah Myung-joong) and his wife Sun-ie (Cho Yong-won) wander from place to place before settling in a mining village. But the village is taken over by the Japanese and Chun-ho loses his job. Believing a bar hostess named Hyang-sim (Lee Hye-young) when she offers to introduce him to "an uncle who does big business with a Japanese man in Seoul," Chun-ho bullies his wife into procuring the necessary funds. Sun-ie goes to borrow money from Mr. Lee's mistress, who is a loan shark, but runs into Mr. Lee instead. When he tries to rape her, she resists strenuously until he offers her money, at which point she allows him to have his way with her, as bitter tears run down her face. With the money in hand, Chun-ho accompanies Hyang-sim to Seoul to meet her uncle. Meanwhile, the body of a woman who was raped by Mr. Lee after she failed to pay back the money she owed floats down the river. Enraged, the villagers storm Mr. Kim's house, where he lives with his mistress, and the bar owned by Hyang-sim, who was planted there by Mr. Kim himself. Chun-ho returns home and packs up his things in order to leave the village with Hyang-sim, but the villagers set upon him. While Sun-ie fights to fend them off, Chun-ho flees through desperate effort. He wanders all over the country in search of Hyang-sim, and eventually runs into Hyang-sim's uncle. But her so-called "uncle" turns out to be her husband, a tuberculosis patient who cannot even speak properly; Hyang-sim had become a bar hostess to support her sick husband and child. Unable to say one word to Hyang-sim, Chun-ho returns to Sun-ie, whom he finds laid up in bed. He takes her to the hospital, and learns that her life is in danger because the baby inside her belly has been dead for a long time. Sun-ie refuses to undergo surgery, and Chun-ho departs with his prostrate wife on his back.
"An example of 1980s folk realism" (Chung Sung-il)
One of actor-turned-director Hah Myung-joong's finest works, Scorching Sun realistically represents the history of pain and persecution suffered by Koreans during the Japanese colonial period. In depicting the Korean people's sufferings, Scorching Sun focuses exclusively on the experiences of the colonial subjects, rather than on the conflict between colonizer and colonized. Through its portrayal of a rural community, the movie presents in condensed form the impact of colonial rule on the lives of Koreans. Conversely, each character in the film holds allegorical significance in relation to Korea's national history. The clearest allegory for the trials of Koreans can be found in the female characters and their bodies. Sun-ie, who sells her body for money, and Hyang-sim, who becomes a bar hostess to support her former-freedom-fighter husband after he becomes consumptive, are the most representative examples. Because women's bodies and sexuality function as important catalysts for the unfolding of the narrative, Scorching Sun appears at first glance to take the form of an erotic movie set against a provincial background. But just when the viewer begins to suspect it as such, the film turns the spotlight from the women's bodies to the "wounds" inscribed upon them. Sun-ie slowly dies with her lifeless baby inside her and Hyang-sim, her body bruised and battered, wails out, "Who's next?" Faced with their suffering, the protagonist, Chun-ho, is struck speechless and powerless. The opponent he is up against is so gargantuan that all he can do is despair and resign himself. This historically-located feeling of impotence and hopelessness infuses the film with a sense of tragedy. It is no doubt for this reason that Scorching Sun was able to resonate with its contemporary audience despite being set in the distant past.
Director Bio: Hah Myung-joong (1947- )
He was one of the most famous actors of the 1970s and worked as an actor for 17 years. He made his directorial debut in 1983 with X(Ekseu) - a movie that deals with the theme of salvation by contrasting two sides of human nature, love and evil. He is the younger brother of Director Ha Kil-jong. He received attention for his second movie, Scorching Sun (Ttaengbyeot). He also made The Placenta (Tae) (1985), set in a remote island village, and The Pinwheel that Spins Alone(Honjadoneun balamgaebi) (1990), adapted from the memoirs of orphaned children.