|Answer: < A Fool Made Vain Efforts (Meongteongguli) > (1926) directed by Lee Pil-woo
The first comedy in Korean film history, < A Fool Made Vain Efforts (Meongteongguli) >, was directed by Lee Pil-woo and released in 1926. The film was based on a 5 cut cartoon series, < A Fool >, drawn by cartoonist Roh Su-hyeon and published in the Joseon Daily. According to film historian Lee Yeong-il, Koreans were in love with films with Hollywood’s most renowned comic actors, such as Charlie Chaplin (people pronounced his name as Japulin), Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. Inspired by this trend, Lee Pil-woo ran into the cartoonist Roh Su-hyeon on the streets one day by chance and suggested making her cartoons into a film. Despite her initial doubts of whether cartoons could be turned into films, she agreed.
Director Lee Pil-woo personally dramatized, produced, and filmed the movie and released it in January of 1926 at Joseon Theater and Wumi Theater. According to Director Lee, “the book (scenario) and the production were both disasters,” but the movie starred Lee Won-gyu, a great comic of his times, and the movie became a hit.
Director Lee Pil-woo was born on November 27th, 1897, in the city of Seoul. He graduated from Boseong Elementary School and Geumgseong Middle School. In 1920, he directs the moving stage-and-screen picture < A True Good Friend (Jigi) > and < The Eternal Love of Su-il and Sun-ae (Janghanmong) > (produced by Lee Gi-se) to become the top filming director in Korea. He was in charge of the camerawork for < The Story of Jang-hwa and Hong-ryeon > in 1924 and pulled off 6 roles including producer, scriptwriter, director, editor, and film developer for < A Fool Made Vain Efforts>. Director Lee Pil-woo is a pivotal figure in the history of Korean filming technique. He invented Korea’s own unique methodology for sound films and worked as a sound engineer for < The Story of Chun-hyang >, in the first talkie made in 1935. He founded the Busan charter of The Motion Pictures Association of Korea in 1964 and worked as the first president until he passed away on October 20th, 1978, at the age of 81.