Yu, Hyun-mok (1925–2009) By Cook, Ryan
Yu Hyun-mok belonged to the first generation of postliberation filmmakers in South Korea, and is known for films inspired by Italian neorealism that unsparingly depicted postwar social problems. His 1961 film Obalt’an (Aimless Bullet) is regarded as one of the great Korean films of the era. The film was made during a brief relaxation of censorship following the April Revolution and the resignation of President Syngman Rhee in 1960. Allegorizing Korean society, it portrays a frustrated patriarch whose meager salary cannot support his dysfunctional family. It famously makes the protagonist’s decaying tooth a metaphor for festering social ills.