Our Twisted Hero (Ulideul-ui ilgeuleojin yeong-ung)> (1992)|
Director Park Jong-won
Production Company Dae Dong Enterprises Co., Ltd
Date of Rate 1992-06-08
Date of Theatrical Release 1992-08-15
Running Time 119 min.
Genre Juvenile Film
Writer Lee Mun-Yeol
Opening Theater Myeong Bo, Myeong Bo Art, Cinema Paradise Theater Hall 1, 2
Screenplay(Adaptation) Jang Hyeon-Su, Park Jong-Won
Producer Do Dong-Hwan
Executive Producer Do dong-Hwan
Director of PhotoGraphy Jeong Kwang-Seok
Gaffer Cho Kil-Su
Music Song Byeong-Jun
Art Director Do Yong-Wu
Ko Jeong-Il, Hong Kyeong-In, Choi Min-Shik, Tae Min-Young, Shin Ku, Lee Jin-Seon, Woo Sang-Jeon, Kim Hye-Ok, Park Kwang-Jin, Jeong Wun-Bong
Han Byung-tae (Tae Min-young), who teaches at a private after-school academy in Seoul, receives word that his old teacher has passed away and sets off to the rural village where he attended elementary school. In the train, he reminisces about the tough fights he used to get into back in the day.
In 1959, as the Liberal Party government nears its end, Byung-tae moves to a country village in Gangwon-do with his father, who has been demoted and exiled due to his lack of "connections."At his new school, he meets class monitor Um Suk-dae (Hong Kyeong-in), who lords over his classmates with absolute power and charisma. With the courage befitting a model student from Seoul, Byung-tae goes up against the tyrannical Suk-dae. But his resistance only brings him pain and suffering, since the rest of the students do not dare to resist Suk-dae's authority and the irresponsible homeroom teacher (Shin Ku) leaves everything to his trusty class monitor. In the end, Byung-tae gives in to Suk-dae, and enjoys the sweet taste of power under his favor and protection. The next year, a new homeroom teacher named Kim Chong-won (Choi Min-sik) arrives at the school around the time of the April 19 Movement. Kim, who strives to educate his students in the ways of truth and freedom, hears endless praise regarding Um Suk-dae from his fellow teachers, but senses something dubious in the way his students regard the supposed golden boy of the school. He discovers that Suk-dae's stellar academic record over the years has been the result of other students taking exams in his stead. Furious, Kim punishes Suk-dae and the rest of the class, and the students force their class monitor to give up his post. Feeling betrayed by his classmates' actions, Suk-dae storms out of the classroom. He returns during the night to set fire to it, then disappears.
Back in the present, Byung-tae reunites with his now-aged friends and waits for Suk-dae to turn up at the funeral. But the only thing that arrives is a wreath bearing Suk-dae's name; the man himself his nowhere to be seen.
Like its literary original, the film adaptation of Our Twisted Hero microscopically depicts the nature of power and the reciprocal relationship between the ruler and the ruled. It thus uncovers a new theme heretofore untreated in Korean art a theme that could even be interpreted as an exploration into the realm of social engineering in that it deals not with a specific period in history but with the problem of synchronic relations. Indeed, this tendency is rather exceptional considering the atmosphere of the domestic film industry at the time, when contemporary Korean history was being rediscovered as a result of the democratization that followed the 1987 June Uprising. In other words, Our Twisted Hero emerged at a period when it was all but impossible to imagine a movie that did not criticize society through the lens of historical consciousness.
Of course, this interpretation applies with full validity to the original novel, but it requires some qualification when applied to the film version. This is because the film modifies the original's dramatic situation and thematic focus to a degree, even while accommodating most of its elements. There are two important differences between novel and film: first, as indicated by the fact that the revolution in the classroom begins with the important historical landmark constituted by Korea's April 19 Movement (homeroom teacher Kim Jeong-won, who instigates this revolution "from the top,"is portrayed as someone directly touched by the April 19 Movement), the movie allots relatively greater importance to its historical setting. Second, Park Jong-won's adaptation reveals that Kim Jeong-won has become a corrupt National Assemblyman later in life. This reflects the director's personal values, which remains cynical toward the possibility of systemic change and focuses instead on personal morality, in contrast to the original novel's emphasis on the systemic nature of power or the 1980s intelligentsia's advocacy of revolution. At any rate, it is worthwhile to note the significant directorial prowess (albeit owing in great part to the force of the literary original) of Park Jong-won, who posited a class at an elementary school, packed it densely with the problems of Korean society, history, and even power in general, and deftly cooked up the combination into a winning recipe.
Director Bio: Park Jong-won (1958- )
He was born on October 20th, 1958, in Jangsi-dong, Jongno-gu, in Seoul. He enteredthe Department of Theatre and Film at Hanyang University in 1978 and graduated in 1984. He then entered the Korean Academy of Film Arts on the year it opened to continue his studies there. Between 1986 and 1988, he worked as an assistant director to director Lee Du-yong, working on such films as Imbecile (Dol-a-I 2) and Eunuch (Naesi). He directed Guro Arirang (Guro Arirang) in 1988, Our Twisted Hero (Ulideul-ui ilgeuleojin yeong-ung) in 1992, Eternal Empire (Yeong-wonhan jegug) in 1995, Reasons Beer is Better Than Love (Maegjuga ae-inboda Joh-eun 7gaji i-yu) in 1996, Rainbow Trout (Song-eo) in 1999 and Paradise Villa in 2000. He is currently a professor at the Korean National University of Arts.