In most melodramas after the mid-60s, a period of intense technological modernization, we seldom find women agonizing between the public and the private spheres, between work and the home. Women returned to the home as the traditional extended family became substituted by the nuclear family. Melodramas began to focus on the relationship of the married couple, usually with the wife agonizing over having to choose between the husband and the lover. Using the experimental film language of the 60s B-move, this film presents variations on love and marriage which shift toward the direction of violence and death. Protagonist Hee-Rah cannot escape the cruelty of her sadistic husband. The brother of Hee-Rah’s old flame Hyun-Min notices her bruises and passes this on to Hyun-Min. Hee-Rah’s cousin Soh-Rah is raped by Byun Dae-Sung who escapes overseas after Soh-Rah attempts suicide. Soh-Rah prepares for Byun’s return with a deadly prescription like the good pharmacist that she is… Once a cinematographer, Choi Kyeong-Ok who worked on numerous films with Simon Sheen during the 60s, presents a superb representation of Hee-Rah’s neurotic fantasy through the juxtapositioning of Byun running in slow motion after Hee-Rah who is shot in normal speed. The explicit sex scenes labeled this film soft-porn, but the film’s portray of the sexual cruelty between the couple transcends mere transgressions of desire and critiques the violence that underlines the ideas of the family and masculinity. (Nam In-Young)
Choi Kyeong-OkChoi Kyeong-Ok
Born in Seoul in 1933, Choi Kyeong-Ok began his film career at Shin Film as a cinematographer. He has made more than twenty films, includining Confessions of Youth and Woman in Tears. The Revenge of Ilwol Knife is his directorial debut film.