An employee at an insurance company whom his children like to call “Romantic Papa,” the protagonist (Kim Seung-ho) is the head of a happy household that consists of his wife (Joo Jeung-nyeo), two sons, and three daughters. His eldest daughter Eum-jeon (Choi Eun-hee) graduates from college and marries Jeon U-taek (Kim Jin-kyu), who works at a meterological observatory. The eldest son Eo-jin (Nam Koong-won) pretends to his parents that he is attending college, but is in fact working on a film site in order to become a director. The second daughter Gop-dan (Do Kum-bong) is a college student, while the younger son Bareuni (Shin Seong-il) and youngest daughter Ippeuni (Um Aing-ran) are still in high school. Although an insurance salesman’s meager salary is barely enough for such a large family to live on, the optimistic father embraces and nurtures his family with his ready smile. However, when his company begins downsizing, the father, who had always been a diligent worker, becomes one of the employees forced into retirement due to his advancing years. Afraid of disappointing his family, he does not tell them that he has lost his job. His children figure out the truth, but pretend to be in the dark as they cast about for a way to comfort their father. On his birthday, the entire family gets together and enjoys a happy celebration. —Korean Film Archive
Shin Sang-ok has surely had one of the strangest careers of any film director. Hailed as the Orson Welles of South Korea for the modernizing influence his 1960s work had on that country’s film industry, he his now best known for having been kidnapped (along with his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee) by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il only to escape to the United States and eventually become producer of the Disney kid flick 3 Ninjas and its sequels.
Shin was born in 1926 in the Hamyong province of what is now North Korea. He studied painting at the University of Tokyo and then returned to Korea and began his film career as a production designer on the first movie made in Korea after the Japanese occupation, Choi In-kyu’s Via Freedom. He began directing films himself shortly thereafter. His 1958 feature, Flower in Hell, was the first Korean film to feature an onscreen kiss, a mild precursor to the erotic content of his later work. Throughout the ‘60s, Shin… read more