The Widow 미망인 1955

Director Park Nam-ok

Shinja is just one of many thousands of Korean War widows. She is luckier than most: an old friend of her husband helps her set up as a seamstress, one kind male neighbour watches out for her little girl, and one feisty young neighbour just generally sticks up for her. When she meets a young man she wants, Shinja has no time for a Confucian tradition that would have her remain ever loyal to her husband’s memory nor does she immolate her desires in the role of mother. The kid gets parked with the neighbour. The film remains incomplete, despite the best efforts of restoration experts at the Korean Film Archive, and the final reel has lost its soundtrack. Shot on 16mm, the ‘studio’ some wooden shacks built on a vacant lot, The Widow is also a window on life in Seoul one summer almost 70 years ago.

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