Film Review: The Maiden Who Went to the City (1981) by Kim Soo-yong

By Purple Romero

Mining the meanings of the trivialities within the on a regular basis adventures of feminine bus conductors permits us to intricately discover the ethos of the working class and girls’s rights in “The Maiden Who Went to the Metropolis (Dosilo gan cheonyeo),” a Korean movie launched in 1981. Kim Soo-yong,  thought of one of the vital prolific administrators in Korean cinema with greater than 100 motion pictures beneath his belt, maximizes this trivialities within the dynamics of feminine blue-collar staff to disclose a elementary battle which serves to elucidate the intersection between gender and labor.

Lee Mun-hi is the “maiden”  referred to within the film’s title, who takes on the gamble of shifting to Seoul to work as a bus conductor. She carries along with her a wad of money, surreptitiously hidden in her underpants, to enroll in a bus conductor academy. When she lastly applies for the job, she will get to find that formal programs or instructional background do not likely matter within the eyes of her superior, nevertheless. What does rely is that she doesn’t filch off the bus firm’s day by day earnings and that she has connections inside. Mun-hi is an outlier in relation to dwelling by the principles, nevertheless, as everybody else on the planet she strikes into appears to interrupt them. She is the one one who refuses to steal even only a dime from the fare collected for the day. However the film reveals that honesty doesn’t at all times repay and that guidelines might both be bent or be rigidly, unreasonably carried out primarily based on who calls the pictures.

The movie doesn’t cross off judgment, although, to those that do defraud the corporate. Seong-ae, one other conductor, pockets a few of the funds she collects to assist the research of her niece, whereas the streetsmart Yeong-ok pilfers cash to fund her dream. By exhibiting the explanations of the workers for doing it, the viewers is behooved to discern the state of affairs and the motivations of feminine bus conductors. By not moralizing the characters, the film steers us to the true malefactor, which is the corporate that’s greater than prepared to topic their staff to dehumanizing procedures to safe their earnings. 

Kim directs this movie in a method that it focuses on the characters. He doesn’t spare any particulars on how feminine conductors reside. From their interplay with passengers and drivers, to the variety of minutes they solely have for lunch, as much as their sudden shouting of instructions for the motive force of their sleep, we’re offered with the nuts and bolts of their lives. It’s by means of these little particulars and tidbits of peculiarities that Kim allows the viewers to piece collectively the ecosystem they function in.

Crucial and delicate particulars unveil the mindset of the hierarchy within the firm. When girls inspectors do a physique inspection of their fellow feminine staff to examine if they’ve stored cash in any of their physique components, from the ft to the non-public areas, they do it with the doorways closed. Because the film progresses, the doorways to the room are opened ajar, nevertheless, because the physique inspection additionally turns into extra humiliating and intrusive.

The film additionally offers ample concentrate on the romantic experiences of the three girls, however this doesn’t distract nor confuse the plot. Quite the opposite, it gives one other alternative to point out how girls are capable of push males to confront their errors and vulnerabilities. Save for Seong-ae, Mun-hi and Yeong-ok stand by their males not as a result of they’re depending on them, however as a result of they’re a part of their greater aspirations.

The three lead actresses are capable of present the distinct personalities of their characters. Yu Ji-in is ready to embody the naivete and uprightness which formed Mun-hi’s mind-set and persistence on the finish. Geum Bo-ra makes us pity Seong-ae however, on the similar time, additionally disagree along with her life decisions. Lee Yeong-ok is fierce and delightfully playful as Yeong-ok that she makes us need to be part of her as she creates rumpus and gambols in Seoul’s streets.

Kim’s vast pictures vividly paint the spirit of Seoul within the Nineteen Eighties. From the vast swath of parking tons the place automobiles are being offered to the intersections and roundabouts of its streets, the pictures present us the sprawling, energetic panorama of South Korea’s capital. The pictures and the intense cinematography by Jo Myeong-Jon contained in the dormitory of the feminine bus conductors additionally illuminate the house the place they reside and the dynamics inside it. By letting the digicam careen in sure components, in the meantime, Kim can be capable of set up the temper of the characters notably of their frenzied state.

One side additionally value noting is how the mise-en-scene depicts Seoul as a metropolis looking for its footing amid the backdrop of geopolitical shifts throughout that point. That Mun-hi and her beau frolic in a spot which seems to be a showcase of South Korea’s army plane and armored preventing autos conveys a picture of postwar Seoul attempting to form its identification.

Geun-shik Kang’s sound design, which used harmonic orchestra music all through the movie, offers a temper of optimism, matching that of Lee’s general spirit. Even when moments are about to result in battle, the background sound stays buoyant and sonorous.

“The Maiden Who Went to the Metropolis” just isn’t as darkish as different motion pictures that contact on the plight of the working class. However this doesn’t make its message any much less related. Kim has understanding of the social and financial limitations girls needed to face throughout that point and their company to additionally overcome them. 



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