Director : Yoo Hyeon-mok
Starring : Kim Dong-won, Eom Aeng-ran, Choi Ji-hee, Lee Min-ja, Hwang Jeong-sun
Location Sites : Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam Province
The movie, based on the novel of the same title written by Park Gyeongri, was produced by Yu Hyeonmok in 1963. Yu usually produced so-called 'literary films,' i.e. film adaptations of contemporary novels. In particular, (Kimyakgukui Ddaldeul) is considered to be one of his best works along with (Obaltan) written by Lee Beomseon. The original work that describes the tragic history of the family of Kim's Pharmacy living in Tongyeong for generations was partly modified when it went through the screenplay process. In the last part of the original novel, Yongbin, a Christian and a modern woman, leaves Tongyeong, which for her means breaking herself off from past retribution of the family. But in the movie, Yongbin decides not to leave Kim's Pharmacy, an alteration which is completely different from the original novel. Therefore, the film was strongly criticized by the original author when it was released.
The characters in the movie are capitalists (Kim's Pharmacy): a tragic matriarch who tries to sustain her declining family by relying on superstition (Hansildaek-the mother); Yongsuk, the eldest daughter who is ill-fated as a widow; Yongbin, a Christian, modern woman; Yongran who ruins her family with her obsession with sexual pleasure; the fourth daughter Yongok, who holds the family together by not submitting to any trouble; and finally Gang Geuk, a nationalist. They reveal typical characteristics of people during the colonial period, and the events they go through expose the sorrows in the history of early modern Korea.
Indeed, the characters in the movie present a slice of Korean history. Tongyeong, the main location of the movie, reflects both the decaying values of the Joseon dynasty that became lost under Japanese rule (1910-1945), which serves as the historical background of the movie, as well as under modern Korea in 1963 when this movie was released.
As in the Korean curse which states, "The family of one who kills oneself after consuming arsenic poison is destined to fall," the power of the family begins to weaken after Seongsu becomes owner of the pharmacy. Hansildaek works hard to support the family in lieu of her husband who wants to escape from reality along with the first daughter, Yongsuk who became widowed; Yongbin, a modern woman and student in Seoul; Yongran who has a glamorous physical appearance and who has an affair with Handol, son of a farmhand; and the youngest daughter, Yongok.
Yongran's affair is caught by her husband when she tries to go with Handol even after her marriage and Hansildaek is tragically killed by her son-in-law. After the incident, Yongran descends into mental illness due to the shock, and Yongbin decides to leave home which seems to be a place filled with evil curses.
Location of Shooting
Almost every scene in (Kimyakgukui Ddaldeul) was shot in Tongyeong, the hometown of the original writer. Therefore, Yu Hyeonmok decided to shoot the movie in Tongyeong in order to reflect the feelings and atmosphere of the original work.
According to Yu, ship departures from Busan arrive at Gangguan, a small port in Tongyeong, which is the gateway where Yongbin returns from Seoul, where Yongran gets married after Handol's disappearance, and where Yongbin and the nationalist Ganggeuk express concerns about the situation of colonized Korea as well as family troubles.
In the last scene at the port, Yongbin decides not to go to Seoul and leave behind her ill father and returns. More than 40 years have passed since the shooting, but Gangguan has changed so little that we can easily recognize it as the film location for (Kimyakgukui Ddaldeul)
A cluster of shacks, densely located on the hill that had a view of the port, were removed. Instead, newly built houses now stand on the hill. However, the shape of hill and port still remain as they did for the shooting of the movie. Thus, it is not difficult to trace the road where Yongbin used to walk or the landscape in which the flower palanquin passed through.
The shabby house of Kim's pharmacy was built as a set for the movie, and most of the other outdoor scenes were shot at a village near Gangguan.
Park Gyeongri stated that "Tongyeong is a small fishing port near the sea by the archipelago" in the prologue of , published in 1962. She also stated that "Local youngsters call Tongyeong the 'Naples of Chosun.'" Tongyeong was recognized as a beautiful port and gateway to receiving Western culture.
In addition, Tongyeong is known as the 'Headquarter of Naval Forces" and famous for relics of the legendary Joseon-era naval commander, Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin. "Hansandaecheop Festival" is annually held by the city council to celebrate Chungmugong.
Tongyeong, also the hometown of writer Park Gyeongri and composer Yun Isang, held the "2002 Tongyeong International Music Festival" at Gangguan for the first time in March 2002.
Nammangsan Park, the most popular site for Tongyeong citizens, is located right next to Gangguan. Ganguan Cultural Plaza holds several cultural events such as "Tongyeong International Music Festival" and "Hansandaecheop Festival".
Namhae Highway-Sacheon-No. 33 National Highway-Goseong-No. 14 National Highway-Tongyeong Bridge
The expressway between Daejeon and Tongyeong is still under construction, and is scheduled to be completed in 2005.
Nammangsan Park: The public park is also called "Chungmu Park", and is connected to Gangguan. We can see Mt. Nammang overgrown with pine trees and cherry trees. Also, superb views of Geobuk Lighthouse, Hansan Island, Haegap Island and Juk Island can be seen from the park.
At the top of the mountain, a bronze statue of the legendary naval admiral Yi Sun-shin Chungmugong was completed in June 1953, and at the corner of the park lies the archery field of Yeolmujeong where the Hansan Military Service Examination used to be held twice a year during the Joseon dynasty period. Jeonsuhoigwan, an institution for making lacquer ware and International Sculpture Park are other places not to be skipped.
In addition, there is Sebyeonggwan, a memorial hall touting the military feats of Admiral Yi Sun-shin; Chungryeol Temple which holds Chulryeongsapalsapum which was sent from the emperor of the Ming dynasty; and Jeseungdang that was built by Yi Sun-shin when he was a navy admiral. These are all worthwhile places to visit.