Archive of films The People in White / Gumuna ttang-e hina baeksung
H. returns in Hyech’on after an absence of forty years and tries to rediscover his identity. He evidently lived somewhere in the vicinity when he was a small boy but he cannot remember anything. His memories only bring dim fragments of voices, fragrances and fleeting moments which might have been important then but may not have anything to do with his existence. Like a blind man he stumbles between day and night, light and darkness, seeking something to grasp hold of as he tries to find his past. Is he being devoured by a yearning for his lost childhood paradise even though there is no way back? Or is he being driven by a desperate attempt to seek out his roots and find some kind of sense to the time that has passed? H. is no longer that black-haired little boy whom an American soldier took under his wing and led away from his destroyed land during the Korean War. But now he must cross the threshold of his own memory so that, like a pilgrim, he can find a place to which he can return.
About the director
Bae Yong Kyun (b. 1951, Tae-gu, South Korea) was fascinated by film from his early childhood. He worked as a screenwriter and studied film technology and now lectures at the University of Fine Arts in his native town. He is a classic example of a self-taught individual with his distinctive poetic expression and fresh approach to cinematically bearing witness to the world we live in. His film Why Has Dharma Left for the East (Dharmaga tongjogĚro kan kkadalgĚn?) won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno IFF in 1989.