This week we’re excited to present a conversation which recently took place as part of our new series, Korean Cinema’s Golden Decade: The 1960s, a sweeping retrospective running thru September 17 that features 24 films from this remarkable period in Korean film history. Following a screening of Yu Hyun-mok’s 1961 South Korean classic, Aimless Bullet, film critic, lecturer, and author Darcy Paquet and series co-curators, Korean Film Archive’s Young Jin Eric Choi and Subway Cinema’s Goran Topalovic, lead a discussion of the film.
Banned in 1961 for its scathing critique of postwar reconstruction but now widely hailed as one of the greatest Korean films ever made, Yu Hyun-mok’s breakout feature was this unrelentingly bleak, noir-tinged melodrama set in the aftermath of the Korean War. The film follows the tragic bond between two brothers living with their surviving family in a Seoul slum called Liberation Village. While Cheol-ho, an accountant suffering from a toothache he can’t afford to treat, struggles to scrape together a meager existence, the senseless consequences of the war gradually tear at the seams of his family and push his younger brother, Young-Ho, to a desperate measure. An on-location tour through the traumatized atmosphere of Korea’s capital, Aimless Bullet artfully blends expressionist and neorealist styles within a grimly introspective portrait of a nation left shattered by hatred and fear—touching on everything from military prostitution and economic inequality to the exploitations of the film industry itself.
Korean Cinema’s Golden Decade: The 1960s is sponsored by MUBI GO.