Korea | 1975 | 95min | 35mm | COLOR | Drama | Musical
Young-dal, a young laborer who works at construction sites, meets Jeong. Jeong is a middle-aged man who has served his term in prison and is heading for his hometown Sampo after a 10 year absence. At a restaurant, they encounter a runaway bar hostess Baek-hwa and the three decide to travel together. For Jeong this trip means going home, for Young-dal it means going south to look for a job, while for Baek-hwa it means heading to Mokpo without any purpose. As the three set out on a journey, they sometimes bicker, but learn about one another and become intimate. Young-dal spends a night together with Baek-hwa upon Jeong’s suggestion that the two try living together. Baek-hwa asks Young-dal to stay together with her but eventually the three must part ways. Jeong finally returns to Sampo but it has been transformed beyond recognition. Adapted from Hwang Seok-young’s same-title novel of 1975, this film is director Lee Man-hee’s final work. As one of the most outstanding road movies of Korean film history, it depicts the protagonists’ journey through life in a composed manner with beautiful winter scenery. Of particular merit is music director Choi Chang-kwon’s traditional score, which is excellently harmonized with the characters’ minds.
Born in Seoul in 1931, Lee Man-hee fought in the Korean War. He had worked as an assistant director for several directors including Ahn Jong-hwa. He made his feature film debut as director on Kaleidoscope in 1961 and received public spotlight with thriller film, Dial 112: Help in 1962. He made several war and thriller films including The Marines Who Didn’t Come Home (1963) and The Evil Stairs (1964). Also, he directed dramas such as Late Autumn (1966) and The Way Home (1967) which earned him both commercial and critical acclaim. Unfortunately, collapsed in the editing room while working on Road to Sampo(1975) and passed away ten days later at the early age of 45.