“Black Hair” Yeon-sil is the lover of crime boss Dong-il. She pays off one of the boss’s henchmen, Man-ho, with whom she once had an affair. Man-ho is an opium addict, and he has been blackmailing Yeon-sil by threatening to disclose their past relations. When Dong-il finds out, he has one of his men severely disfigure Yeon-sil’s face then casts her out, according to the rules of the organization. With nowhere to turn, Yeon-sil becomes a prostitute, but any money she earns is apt to be taken away by Man-ho.
One day, she meets a wholesome taxi driver, who allows her to stay at his house. She goes to meet Dong-il, but his men, fearing that their boss might be weakened by his feelings for his former lover, decide to kill her off and force her into a car. The taxi driver, who happens to be following them, rescues Yeon-sil just as she is about to be killed, and helps her to get plastic surgery on her face. Meanwhile, Dong-il is unable to forget Yeon-sil. He goes against the rules of the organization by meeting Yeon-sil again and spending the night with her. He confesses his actions to his men and orders them to punish him for violating the rules. As Dong-il and his men are fighting to the death, the taxi driver appears on the scene and demands the beleaguered boss to hand over Yeon-sil. —koreafilm.org
Director Lee Man-hee was born in Hawangsimni-dong Seoul, in 1931, the youngest of 8 children. He participated in the Korean War deciphering enemy codes and duringthe years between 1956 and 1961, he worked as an assistant director under the directors Ahn Jong-hwa, Park Gu and Kim Myeong-je. He made his directorial debut in 1961 with Kaleidoscope (Jumadeung) with the support of Kim Seung-ho, one of the most famous actors of the era. Afterward, he proved that he could make movies that were commercially successful with Call 112 (112reul Dollyeora) (1962). He opened a new age of Korean noir and horror with Black Hair (Geomeun Meori) (1964) and The Devil’s Stairway (Mauigyedan) (1964). He also opened up new possibilities in Korean art films with Full Autumn (Manchu) (1966)and continued on this stylistic path with Homebound (Gwiro) (1967) and Holiday (Hyuil). With the decline of the Korean movie industry in the 1970s, he received fewer and fewer opportunities to make movies and this coincided… read more