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Lee Man Hee to be Showcased at PIFF 2005
The 10th Pusan International Film Festival will feature 10 films from the maverick Korean director
Hyo-Jae An (hyo1788)     Print Article 
Published 2005-08-24 17:48 (KST)   
A scene from Lee Man Hee's Korean War film "The Marines Who Didn't Come Home" (1963)
The time has come again for another comprehensive film festival in Korea's southern port city of Busan. This year, the 10th anniversary of the Pusan International Film Festival marks the 30th anniversary of director Lee Man Hee's death by showcasing his most famous works.

Lee was renowned for making films of every possible genre, even saying himself, "I'd like to make film in every genre I could possibly make." Soon he was being hailed as a "master" of war, thriller and drama films.

He is especially remembered for the maverick side of his personality, making many political films criticizing the Korean War. Other films such as "The Marines Who Didn't Come Home" (1963) dealt with the intense humanity and hardships during the Korean War. Also in 1966 the film "Soldiers Without Serial Number" realistically captured the political ideology adopted during that era.

Many remember Lee's dedication towards filmmaking, and similarly the characters in his films portrayed a part of him, willing to die for their mission. He was arrested for violation of the Anti-Communism Act in 1964 for the film "The Seven Female POWs."

Lee's most famous work "Late Autumn" will be showcased, although unfortunately some of the prints are missing. "A Road to Return," which is also on the program, illustrates a darker side of Korean society in the late 60s.

Apart from just screening Lee's films, academic discussions will take place with the title "The Life and Work of Lee Man Hee." A documentary of Lee's cinematic journey will also be shown honoring his contribution to Korean cinema. His contemporaries will also offer their respects by presenting critical essays.

Born on Oct. 6, 1931, Lee showed talent and interest in theatre from a young age and as soon as the Korean War ended he was hired as an assistant to director Ahn Jong Hwa. Lee became increasingly active in the production field, working as an apprentice for many directors. Lee's big break came when he released the film "Dial 112!" as this was the piece that connected him to his future collaborator Seo Jeong Min. They soon became the Bonnie and Clyde of Korean cinema.

Their first film together "The Marines Who Didn't Come Home" topped the local box office pulling in an audience of 200,000.

Despite his past experiences in politics he did not cease to make films about war. In 1966 he made "Soldiers Without Serial Number" and the year after "The Legend of Ssarigol."

Due to the collapse of Korean cinema in the late 60s Lee dropped off the radar until 1971 with an action film titled "Break the Iron Chain." In the end he did make an ultimate sacrifice for his passion, having a breakdown at an editing studio in April 1975 he died at the age of 45.
The 10th Pusan International Film Festival will run from Oct. 6 - 14. There will be a special program called "Asian Pantheon" where 30 under-appreciated masterpieces from Asia will be chosen for screening.

Last year 262 films from 63 countries were shown and the amount of tickets sold over the week-long event increased to 300,000.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Hyo-Jae An

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