Chan-sang Lim – Hyojadong ibalsa aka The Presidents Barber (2004)

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Plot:
Newcomer director Im Chansang’s debut “The President’s Barber” vividly depicts, sometimes comically and sometimes seriously, the sociopolitical vicissitudes from the perspectives of a barber and his cute son during the most turbulent period of modern Korea between the 1960s and the 1970s. During these two decades, any remark made by the President was often a law in and of itself. The difference is that the main hero here, who is narrow-minded and unsophisticated, lives near the President’s mansion – Cheong Wa Dae (formerly called Gyeong Mu Dae) in Hyoja-dong in central Seoul. Like his fellow citizens of those times, Seong Hanmo the barber (played by veteran actor Song Gangho) is far from the world of politics, yet he is deeply affected by them. Seong watches everything from illegal electioneering under President Syngman Rhee to the assassination of President Park Chung Hee in 1979. In his personal life, Seong wheedles his assistant Kim Minja (Mun Sori) to marry him. Minja delivers a baby, ironically, on April 19th of 1960, just when the historical students’ uprising for democracy breaks out. Seong’s barbershop, “Hyoja Ibal-gwan,” becomes prosperous after the May 16 military coup d’etat led by General Park Chung Hee. The reason is simple: the newly launched military government ordered every middle and high school student to have their hair cut short. Continue reading