The Way Home shows the emergence of new social and sexual desires in 60s Korea by depicting the life of a woman who delivers her paralyzed husband’s articles to the newspaper office for him. Unpopular with readers, the frigid husband’s stories portray women whom the husband himself admits are “too dependent.” He explains that for the readers, it is precisely the women’s frigid purity that begs for their “sexual fall.” Married to a sexually impaired Korean War veteran, the wife begins to lead a life similar to the plot of her husband’s stories. Following the hints at readers’ demands for a fallen woman, she falls in love with a younger news reporter. Her whereabouts then become the key to her marriage as well as the next chapter to her husband’s story. Director Lee Man-Hee questions the idea of modernity with images of the geometrical surfaces in modern art and the cold landscapes of the city. At the same time, this film portrays the wife’s psychological dilemma through its depiction of Seoul architecture in the 60s including Seoul Station, Kwanghwamun and Kyungin Railway and so on. If images represent the conflict between conventional ideology and the wife’s desires, sound expresses the emasculization of the husband, who remains trapped inside the ghosts of the war. An intersection between melodrama and modernism, this film captures the viewer’s interest by gripping all of her senses. (Nam In-Young)
LEE Man-heeLEE Man-hee
Born in 1931, LEE Man-hee studied directing under AHN Jong-hwa, PARK Gu and KIM Myung-jae, and made his debut film Kaleidoscope (1961). He showed his outstanding ability in directing through Marines Are Gone (1963). LEE had to make a way to the court due to his problematic film The Seven Female POW’s (1965). His career hit its climax with yet another film Full Autumn (1966). In the later years, his taste moved from situation-centered world view with much suspense toward a meditative one overcoming differences in ideology.