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Memories of Murder, Memories of 1880s

Posted April. 03, 2003 22:27,   


"Simply, it is a bizarre mystery. Listening to the detectives in charge at that time, we also get to feel it`s an irrational drama. Thought it would be interesting to have the American genre thriller collide with coarseness of a country life. It`s not a serious thriller. It`s more like a `rural thriller,` if you will."

It is based on a real story. Thus, the staff said the event was hard to dramatize. Actually, the reality was more comic than the representation. For example, a fortune-teller told detectives to replace the main gate so that it could face east, not north, and they did. But another murder took place. Another teller told to pray on the west coast on the last day of a lunar month, and the detectives did that, only ending up being embarrassed by a patrolling solder.

"When a person is put in a dire situation, the person sometimes acts desperately, which others feel rather funny. For this reason, my movie contains some funny scenes. But, keeping asking `why they failed,` we arrive at the need to look back into the social situations of the time."

A serial killer murdered innocent women in Hwasung at a time when the whole country was busy preparing for hosting the Asian Games and the Olympic Games and the police hardly kept their head above water cracking down on numerous demonstrations against the military regime in power at that time.

"When a murder occurred, riot police officers lined up along the streets in the rural town. Soon, they left for quelling demonstrations. Then, another murder took place. Simply, the regime was busy defending itself."

In other words, defending the military regime was "bigger" than protecting the life of a citizen. In the process, all responsibilities fell on rural town detectives. They say that "the case still remains as a cancer to them."

"In short, the government lacked the will and ability to protect women living in a rural area, and did not have a systematic devices to catch a cunning serial killer. That is why the multiple murder case still remains unsolved, I guess."

In this respect, this movie contrasts other films taking the 1980s as setting. Most of the films try to portray our reminiscence of the time. But, this one offers us a direct window into the era, promises the director.

Hee-Kyung Kim susanna@donga.com