A Hot Roof (Gaegat-eun nal-ui ohu) (1995)|
Director : Lee Min-Yong
Production Company : Sun Films, Jeil Communications
Date of Rate : 1995-09-04
Date of Theatrical Release : 1995-09-08
Running Time : 108 min.
Genre : Social Satire
Writer Song Jae-Hee
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Lee Kyeong-Shik, Cho Min-Ho, Jang Jin, Lee Min-Yong
Producer : Lee Sun-Yeol
Director of PhotoGraphy : Seo Jeong-Min
Gaffer : Choi Ip-Chun
Music : Lee Young-Hun
Art Director : Cho Yung-Sam
Jeong Seon-Kyeong, Ha Yu-Mi, Sohn Suk, Song Ok-Suk, Jeong Bo-Seok, Lee Kyeong-Young, Kim Min-Jong, Lim Hee-Suk, Kim Bo-Yeon
On a hot summer day, the residents of a five-story apartment complex on the outskirts of Seoul are gathered in the courtyard to escape the sweltering heat. Into their midst rushes Jeong-hui (Ha Yu-mi), who is fleeing from the latest round of her husband's constant physical abuse. When her husband Seong-gu comes after her with his fists flying, the women rally together and give him a sound beating. Unfortunately, Seong-gu dies in the ambulance on his way to the hospital, and the police try to take the neighborhood women into custody for murder. Bewildered, the women jostle to and fro before eventually finding their way to the rooftop of an apartment building. Thus, the rooftop becomes the site of a last stand for ten women, including Geyong-suk (Sohn Suk), an aspiring novelist in her late forties; Ki-sun (Lee Jin-sun), a single woman engaged in an affair with Yeong-hui's father; Yeong-hui's mother (Song Ok-suk), who consequently harbors deep resentment toward Ki-sun; Eun-ju's mother (Kim Bo-yeon), who heads the women residents' association and likes to put herself forward; Pohang-daek (Lim Hee-suk), a fifty-something woman who delivers Chinese food; Yun-hui (Jeong Seon-kyeong), who works as a hostess in a bar; and Yu-mi, a cabaret singer who has helped Jeong-hui up to the roof. The group becomes anxious when a special police strike force is deployed for their capture, but after a while they decide to take a firm stance against their would-be-captors. Just at that moment, an incompetent twosome of burglars (Lee Kyeong-young, Kim Min-jong) who were in the middle of breaking into an empty apartment see the throng of police gathered in the courtyard. They mistake themselves for the police's intended quarry and attempt to flee in terror, but end up trapped in the empty apartment, hemmed in on all sides.
"A movie that displays the director's excellent skill in cheerfully and entertainingly unfolding the weighty theme of 'what it means to be a woman living in Korean society'" (Yu Ji-na)
As a feminist film portraying society's oppression of women and their allied struggle against it, A Hot Roof elicited a tremendous response when it first opened in theatres.
It was welcomed with open arms by both critics and audiences especially for elevating the level of contemporary Korean debates on feminism. The movie offered a fresh perspective by locating the germ of the story in the problem of spousal abuse, but what made it even more interesting was the fact that it showed the process through which the abused wife becomes the focal point of an allied front formed by a spectrum of women in varied social positions. This process is lightly depicted through realistic characterizations, brimming satire, and ample humor. Rather than focusing on a single protagonist, the movie creates an ensemble drama by distributing its gaze evenly among ten different women. Moreover, it makes dexterous use of crane shots to forge visual links among their various lives.
The ten women assembled on the roof under the charge of murder overcome the differences that stem from their individual circumstances and come to understand one another. In this process, even a "man" in drag is proudly recognized to be a woman in her own right. This sense of unity subverts the dire significance of the rooftop, which provides the movie's main setting: a space of imminent crisis simultaneously takes on the meaning of a space of female liberation. A Hot Roof does not stop there, but goes on to expand this shared understanding and sense of alliance to society at large. By featuring a female reporter who endeavors to make the women's imperiled situation known to the outside world, an old lady who jumps from the roof at the moment they are about to be hauled off by the police and women's rights activists who risk their own lives to purvey necessities to the besieged group, the movie raises a society-wide problem through the combined struggle of ten specific women.
Director Bio: Lee Min-yong (1958- )
He entered the Korean Academy of Film Arts in its 3rd year of existence and made his directorial debut with A hot roof (Gaegat-eun nal-ui ohu). This work achieved both box office and critical success for its lighthearted look at the position of women in Korean society and the bonds between them. He also directed Inch'Alla (Insyalla(Inch'Alla), a melodrama about a South Korean woman and North Korean man who fall in love in the Moroccan desert and Season In the Sun (Boriul-ui Yeorum), a family movie.