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Hong Kil-dong

dir. Kim Kil-in
North Korea 1986, 108’
Credits
North Korea 1986
Duration: 108’
director: Kim Kil-in
screenplay: Kim Se Ryun
cinematography: Hong Sok Jon
cast: Li Yong Ho, Hui Chang Son, Ri Gwon, Ri Riyonun, Satsuma Kenpachiro
production: Hong-Jong Corporation
language: Korean
colouration: colour

Film description

The title hero is a legendary character - a Korean Robin Hood, whose literary prototype appeared at the turn of the 16th century. Some even claim the story was based on true events. The bastard son of a nobleman and a low-born concubine used his unusual intelligence and superhuman powers to fight aristocracy with a group of other social outcasts. The tale, one of the founding stories for national identities of both Koreas, had a number of adaptations in literature, film, television and comic books.

Kim Kil-in wraps the popular saga in the convention of martial arts cinema, with all its spectacular wuxia-style sword fights, Kung fu sequences, and a touch of lyricism. Despite fighting the injustice and protecting the little people, the hero has to face his nemesis – a Japanese ninja. The combination of elaborate choreography (prepared by combat scenes specialists from Hong Kong), brilliant costumes, dynamic script, and an ethical message, turned "Hong Kil-dong" into the most important film in the history of North Korea. It was also a huge success abroad, inlcuding the Soviet Block. In Bulgaria, hundreds of thousands viewers queued to buy tickets days in advance.

Jagoda Murczyńska

Kim Kil-in

Selected filmography:

1978 - Chunganggonggyoksu / Centre Forward

1984 - Cholgirul ttara chonmalli / Miles Along the Railway

1986 - Hong Kil-dong

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