Kim, Soo-yong (September 23, 1929--) By Cook, Ryan
Trained as a filmmaker during the Korean War, Kim Soo-yong debuted in 1958 amid the South Korean film industry’s postwar recovery and became one of the representative Korean filmmakers of the 1960s. Under the film policies of Park Chung-hee’s military government, the film industry suffered from censorship and quotas. The literary film emerged as an important genre signifying quality and artistic merit. Kim’s 1965 Kaenmaŭl [Seaside Village] marked him as a leading director of literary adaptations, which account for half his prolific oeuvre of over one hundred films. Kim also worked in popular genres, including comedy, melodrama, youth films, and anti-communist films, but is remembered for films that display realist, non-paternalistic perspectives on postwar society. His 1963 film Hyŏlmaek [Kinship] depicted the generational divide among North Korean defectors living in poverty on the fringes of society in the industrializing South. Seaside Village provocatively took on the sexuality of widows in a fishing community and contained lesbian innuendos. Several of his films also demonstrated a formal modernism. The 1967 An’gae [Mist], regarded as one of his highest achievements, employs experimental montage and a temporally complex flashback structure. In later years, he has been credited with helping ease film censorship in South Korea.