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Archives 2009

Film Screening

Chilsu and Mansu

Directed by Park ,Kwang-su,1988
23 January 2009

Chilsu and Mansu, released in 1988 is a frequently-cited landmark on Korea's path from restrictive censorship to a greater freedom of expression. It is based on a story by Taiwanese writer Huang Chunming, whose writings were banned in Korea at the time. The movie focuses on Chil-su, a smooth-talking billboard painter who struggles to hold down a job and his evolving friendship with Man-su, a capable and intelligent worker who is held back in life because his father is an "unreformed" Communist sympathizer, serving a long sentence in a South Korean prison. After meeting at a small workshop where movie billboards are drawn and painted, the two eventually team up to search for temporary work. Yet society gives them few opportunities, as economically and personally they struggle to make ends meet. Finally one hot summer day, they find themselves atop a building in southern Seoul painting a beer ad on a huge billboard. Looking down on all the "well-off, educated, upper class bastards of Seoul," the two begin screaming out their frustrations to the city below. At this time, some policemen on the street hear their shouting and misinterpret their actions, which ultimately leads to an unexpected and somewhat surreal confrontation that reflects the dominant tensions of the age.
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