We continue our free Korean Film Nights with Shin Sang-ok’s classic 1961 melodrama Mother and a Guest, starring superstar Choi Eun-hee.
The precocious Ok-hee lives in a household of widowed women: her mother (played by one of 50s’ and 60s’ Korea’s biggest stars, Choi Eun-hee), grandmother and their housekeeper. When a charming friend of her late father arrives at the house as a guest, six-year-old Ok-hee casts her affections toward him, seeing him as the paternal influence sorely absent from her life at home. She quickly takes it upon herself to play cupid between the man and her mother. Featuring touching displays of cinematic yearning, Mother and a Guest reflects on the societal expectations of female fidelity and desire across the divides of generation.
Directed by Shin Sang-ok, one of the most prolific and respected figures of the Golden Age of Korean Cinema, the film’s use of black-and-white cinematography purposefully contrasts the vast, open spaces and wider shots of the exterior with the smaller, restricted areas and tighter shots within the hanok, where emotions and desires heighten and simmer.
dir. Shin Sang-ok
South Korea, 1961
runtime 102 min