SFS Talkies / World Cinema Series : A Flower in Hell / Jiok Hwa
||Directed by one of the legendary figures of Korean cinema Shin Sang-ok is the powerful and gripping postwar classic A Flower in Hell. Reportedly the first Korean film to show an on-screen kiss, A Flower in Hell is a gritty document of the lives of black marketeers and prostitutes set around an American military base in 1950s Seoul.
||11 March 2008 (Tuesday), 7:30pm
||National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road
||Free admission for Singapore Film Society members. Free seating. Please flash your SFS Membership card for entry.
Tickets for the public: $8 / $6.40 concession.
Counter Sales: Stamford Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 8pm;
Canning Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 5pm.
Online Booking: www.nationalmuseum.sg (click on Online Booking tab at the bottom of the webpage).
Ticketing Information: 6332 3659.
General Enquiries: 6332 5642.
Patrons are advised that a valid identity pass is required for all screenings.
A Flower in Hell / Jiok Hwa
Dir: Shin Sang-ok
1958 / Korea / 87 min / 35 mm / PG
In Korean with English subtitles
Directed by one of the legendary figures of Korean cinema Shin Sang-ok is the powerful and gripping postwar classic A Flower in Hell. Reportedly the first Korean film to show an on-screen kiss, A Flower in Hell is a gritty document of the lives of black marketeers and prostitutes set around an American military base in 1950s Seoul.
The film tells the story of the young and naïve Dong-shik who travels from the countryside to the city to look for his elder brother Young-shik. Dong-shik finds his brother earning his living as a petty criminal and living together with his girlfriend, a prostitute called Sonya, played by the acclaimed actress Choi Eun-hee (Sang-ok’s wife) in an electrifying and unforgettable performance. When Sonya falls for the younger Dong-shik, she proves to be the undoing of Young-shik’s biggest and most dangerous heist.
A Flower in Hell’s mix of documentary footage and the use of real locations offer a visceral look at the devastation and moral downfall of postwar Korea. The most memorable scene in the film is an intense high speed pursuit that ends in a desolate mud field. The film was screened at the 2001 Pusan International Film Festival where it was received with great critical acclaim, and is today considered one of Shin Sang-ok’s best films.
(1926 – 2006)
Widely heralded as the “Prince of Korean Cinema”, Shin Sang-ok was a prolific film producer and director with more than seventy films to his credit. He pioneered the use of sync sound, CinemaScope and zoom lenses in Korean films, and revolutionized the country’s film industry during the Golden Age of Korean Cinema from the 1950s to 1960s with blockbuster melodramas and historical epics. During the 1960s, Shin formed a partnership with Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers, directing several films for the studio and was a big influence on Hong Kong filmmakers like Li Hanxiang.
Shin’s films are notable for their strong female characters and their allegorical commentary on current Korean society and politics. In 1975, the government revoked his company’s license to produce films after he reinserted scenes ordered to be cut from his film Rose and Wild Dog / Jangmi-wa Dulgae (1976).
In a twist of fate as dramatic as a movie, Shin and his wife, the actress Choi Eun-Hee were kidnapped in 1978 by the future North Korean president Kim Jong-Il to help create a film industry in the Northern regime. Shin directed seven films for North Korea before making a daring escape in 1986 during a cultural mission in Vienna and eventually seeking political asylum in the United States.
Shin and his wife moved to Los Angeles in 1989 after living under the protection of the CIA for three years. In Hollywood, he worked under the pseudonym Simon Sheen and produced the 3 Ninjas series of martial arts comedies.
In 2001 and 2002 respectively, the Pusan International Film Festival and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presented retrospectives of Shin’s works.
$8 / $6.40 concession
Free admission for Singapore Film Society members
Stamford Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 7.30pm
Canning Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 5pm
Ticketing Information: 6332 3659
General Enquiries: 6332 5642
Patrons are advised that valid identity pass is required for all screenings.
The Producer from Hell
by John Gorenfeld (Guardian Unlimited Film)
Shin Sang Ok, 80, Korean Film Director Abducted by Dictator, Is Dead
by Douglas Martin (New York Times)