A Wanderer Never Stops on the Road (Nageuneneun gil-e-seodo swiji An-neunda) (1987)|
Director : Lee Jang-Ho
Production Company : Pan Films Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1987-06-24
Date of Theatrical Release : 1988-06-11
Running Time : 104 min.
Genre : Melodrama
Writer : Lee Je-Ha
Opening Theater : Hollywood Theater
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Lee Jang-Ho
Producer : Lee Jang-Ho
Director of PhotoGraphy : Park Seung-Bae
Gaffer : Kim Kang-Il
Music : Lee Jong-Ku
Art Director : Shin Cheol, Wang Suk-Young
Editor : Hyeon Dong-Chun
Kim Myeong-Kon, Lee Bo-Hee,Choo Seok-Yang, Ko Seol-Bong
One day toward the end of 1983, Sun-seok (Kim Myeong-kon) arrives in Mulchi, on the east coast of Korea, in order to scatter his wife's ashes. His wife, who passed away three years ago, was from a town that is now in North Korea. He would like to bury her remains in her hometown up north, but there is no way to reach it. Sun-seok is chased away by the coast guard in the attempt to scatter her ashes along the shore. At a local inn, he meets an old man laid up with illness and his nurse (Lee Bo-hee). The old man, who is also from a northern region, wants to die as close to his hometown as possible, but his son cannot understand his father's wish. The innkeeper asks Sun-seok to help them, but he refuses. That night, he strikes up with a hiker who is staying at the inn. The hiker introduces him to a prostitute, but she is suddenly stricken with a seizure and falls dead on the spot. Another prostitute he comes to know while staying at a different inn also ends up dead. The old man's son sends his assistant to fetch his father back. Left by themselves, Sun-seok and the nurse share stories of their respective lives and end up sleeping together. The nurse tells Sun-seok about the shaman's prediction that she would meet and marry a man carrying three coffins on his back. Sun-seok begins to think that he might be the man. The two of them decide to get married in Seoul, and Sun-seok opts to go on alone to make the preparations. The nurse remains behind in order to visit her hometown. As they are saying goodbye at the docks, a shaman begins her ritual nearby. The nurse clamps her hand to her chest as if being seized by a spirit, and Sun-seok watches in wonder.
"A dreamlike film that shows off director Lee Jang-hee's elaborate technique and his distinctively avant-garde, experimental visual aesthetic"
Rendered dreamlike and abstract through such fantastic techniques as golden-hued long takes, flashbacks featuring scintillating camera work, and echoing sound effects, Lee Jang-ho's A Wanderer… completely ignores the conventional demand for an explanatory narrative. Reflected in its unique atmosphere are the illogical, folkloric world of shamanism and the deep yearning for homes left behind in the now-unreachable north. The fantastical mood created by shamanism suggests that Korea's division into North and South is not an individual problem but one that interconnects and circulates. Certainly, a real understanding of the pain of a divided country with divided families strongly underlies the film, but what is most notable in A Wanderer… is its surreal aesthetic experimentation. The use of an amber-colored filter to color the entire film in earthen gold; scattering snowflakes overlapped with the image of ashes; the steam rising from the surface of the river; flashbacks that bleed into one another with echoing sounds effects; the outstretched palm prohibiting a happy union, printed using double exposure; and the utilization of pansori music for the soundtrack are all elements that showed audiences new visual experiments and rhythms never before encountered in Korean films. In particular, the scene repeated at the beginning and end of the movie the long take of the stretching road over the voice-over narration of Lee Bo-hee and Kim Myeong-kon beautifully captures the pain of those who have been uprooted from their northern hometowns and are condemned to a life upon the roads with no place to call home. In addition, Lee Bo-hee demonstrates her outstanding gift as an actress in three different roles: Sun-seok's late wife, the prostitute, and the nurse. As the promotional copy proclaimed at the time, the movie showcases "everything that is Lee Bo-hee."
Director Bio: Lee Jang-ho (1945- )
Lee Jang-ho is one of the most significant directors of the 70s and 80s who made movies that were socially relevant and commercially successful. He was an assistant to director Shin Sang-ok and was thrust into stardom with the smashing success of Heavenly homecoming to stars (Byeoldeul-ui gohyang) (1974), the movie with which he made his directorial debut. He founded the film production group, "Visual Age" with Ha Kil-jong and Kim Ho-seon. He portrayed the oppression, hypocrisy, poverty and wealth of the society of his times and opened the "Age of the Youthful Writers." He used spectacular experimental visual techniques in Declaration of Idiot (Baboseon-eon) (1983) and A Wanderer Never Stops on the Road (Nageuneneun gil-e-seodo swiji An-neunda) (1987) and portrayed Korean society and its contrasting wealth and poverty in Good Windy Day (Balambul-eo joh-eun nal) (1980). He also directed popular commercial movies such as Between the Knees (Muleupgwa muleupsa-i) (1984), Eoh Wu-dong (Eo Udong) (1985) and Lee Jang-ho's Baseball Team (Lee Jang-ho-ui oeingudan) (1986). During the 90s, he produced Myong-Ja Akiko Sonia (Myeongja Akkikko Ssonya) (1992) and Declaration of Genius (Cheonjaeseone-eon) (1995). Currently, he is teaching students and is on the board of directors for the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.