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The President's Barber (2004)

Hyojadong ibalsa (original title)
Follows a president's barber, his wife, and their only son through four decades of tumultuous Korean history.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Seong Han-mo / Barber
...
Kim Min-ja / Barber's wife
Jae-eung Lee ...
Seong Nak-han / Barber's son
Yeong-jin Jo ...
President
Byung-ho Son ...
Jang Hyeok-su
Yong-soo Park ...
Park, Jong-man (as Yong-su Park)
Seung-su Ryu ...
Jin-gi
Ju-sang Yun ...
Mr. Choi
Gyu-su Jeong ...
Mr. Wang
...
Mr. Ahn
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Se-in Jeong
Hyung-ok Noh
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Storyline

Follows a president's barber, his wife, and their only son through four decades of tumultuous Korean history.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

5 May 2004 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Az elnök borbélya  »

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User Reviews

 
Very amusing political satire
20 May 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

A well-meaning but politically naive barber gets pulled into the inner circle of the South Korean dictator Park Chung-Hee, with rather baleful consequences for his hapless family. This sharp political satire covers roughly twenty years in South Korean political history, from the viewpoint of the barber's son.

Of particular interest to Korean history buffs will be the portrayal of Gerneral Park himself. While the film acknowledges the dictator's laid-back charm and understated charisma, it also leaves no doubt about the vicious nature of the repression which he oversaw. The contrast between Park's appealing personal style and the brutal actions of his underlings makes for a useful observation about the dangers of charismatic leadership.

Alternating the action between the presidential residence and a nearby neighborhood, with occasional stops in the torture chambers of the police state and the countryside dwelling of a shamanistic healer, the narrative deftly manages a multi-front satire on Korean society during the middle Cold War period. And though the script is unsparing in its acerbic view of Park and his clique, it generally avoids the smug cheap shots that often blight similar cinematic forays into political satire. Park's ordinary admirers are seen as misguided, sometimes even rascally, but are left with their basic humanity intact and never treated as objects of outright contempt.

General Park's remaining fans(of which there are quite a few, it seems)will probably take issue with the script's omission of any reference to the social and economic advances that took place under his watch. Park haters, on the other hand, might resent the portrayal of this murderous dictator as a soft-spoken and genial family man. Such caveats aside, this film is highly recommended to fans of political satire and anyone with an interest in Korean history.


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