Starting with a scene of Chun-hyang playing the gayageum in the film-within-a-film The Story of Chun-hyang, Spring of Korean Peninsula realistically depicts the lives of pop artists during the Japanese colonial times against the backdrop of a music recording company and a film production set. Alongside director Lee Byung-il, Kim Junyoung, known as a pioneer of Korean film music, took part in the making of the film. Together with Taepyeong Records, a key player in the Korean pop music scene at that time, the newly launched Shinheung Musical Troupe added to the film’s rich musical dimensions by creating the theme song and playing minor roles. The image of Lee Chaeho, who composed the theme song, appearing as an accordionist in a café is particularly striking. (LEE Junhee)
Born in 1910 in Hamheung, South Hamgyong Province, Lee Byung-il started his career in film by playing a minor role in The Pitiful People (1932) directed by Hwang Un. During his studies in Japan, he established Korea Records in 1934 together with Kim So-dong. He joined Nikkatsu in 1936, and studied film directing under Yutaka Abe. Upon returning to Korea in 1940, he established Myung-bo Film Company with Lee Ki-woong, who ran Myungbo Theater in Hamheung. He directed Spring of Korean Peninsula in 1941 and died of a chronic heart disease in 1978.
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