Chilsu and Mansu (1988) Poster

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7/10
Striking movie reflecting on class struggle
ycy1 March 2000
This is a movie with a message. It highlights the struggle of two men, Chilsu and Mansu. Both are painters without a stable job. The movie follows the daily pointless lives of these two men, joined by desperation and lack of employment. The film sends many messages to the viewer. The most poignant is the daily struggle of the common man in Korea (in th 80's) with no education. It reflects the hopelessness of the poor, as well as the outsider. This is shown by the younger man's dream of going to Miami as an escape from his world, even though he has never been there. It is also shown by the older man's inability to obtain stable work, due to his father's history of being a communist. The second message (to me) is that of cultural imperialism by the West in Korea. In the movie, one sees many influences of Western ideas. The girl that the younger man likes works at Burger King; The older guy dresses up as a painter from France in order to impress the women; the younger man sees America (miami) as a solution to his life; he wears a shirt resembling the American flag; and the billboard the 2 men paint is that of an advertisement for American whiskey.
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10/10
South Korean director/screenwriter Park Kwang Su directs a politically correct film which evenly mixes comedy with drama.
FilmCriticLalitRao22 May 2013
Chilsu and Mansu occupies an important status in the history of South Korean cinema. It was made in 1988, a crucial year for South Korea when it got an opportunity to showcase its importance on international arena by successfully hosting 24th summer Olympics. It was after this global sporting event that restrictions were lifted by the government in order to ease tensions which had troubled ordinary South Koreans. It is believed that South Korean cinema industry was one of the principal beneficiaries of this lifting of restrictions. As a film, Chilsu and Mansu is about the daily struggles of ordinary people to make sense of their lives in a hostile environment where unskilled workers do not have any voices of their own. It begins well with numerous comedy scenes from their daily lives but makes its point only when it takes a tough stand in the form of drama to highlight the plight of two of its leading characters who are beset by family problems. It is true that Chilsu and Mansu opened a new avenue for South Korean films in the world especially at film festivals but the enormous influence of American culture on ordinary South Koreans can easily be felt while watching this film. One gets to hear famous pop music tracks which were popular in late 1980s and numerous scenes from American cinema too have found a prominent place in this film. Chilsu and Mansu was directed by Park Kwang Su, a leading South Korean cinéaste and screenwriter who has also worked with Lee Chang Dong. He would go on to make other landmark films namely A single spark, Black Republic and To the starry island. Actor Park Joong-Hoon who plays the role of Chilsu would make a fresh appearance in "The Black Republic" directed by Park Kwang Su.
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