Largely financed by public subscription (the closing credits acknowledge nearly 5,000 names), Park's film sets out to exorcise South Korea's dark years under military dictators while paying dues to the heroes who dared to dissent. Jeon Tae-Il was a labour activist in the 1960s who committed suicide as a gesture of protest against the authorities' failure to honour workers' rights already enshrined in law. Park offers not a standard bio-pic about Jeon but a meditation on the boy's self-sacrifice through the eyes of a '70s radical who researches and writes an idealised biography while trying to stay one step ahead of the police. Very far from the tone and style of agit-prop, it turns into an elegiac movie about the points where life and art meet and diverge.
Cast and crew