Film Series Entry Centers on Economic Hardship

still photo from BreathlessThe Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies 2015 spring film series–Castaway in Kore­an Society–continues Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 24, with a screen­ing of the inde­pen­dent fea­ture Breath­less (똥파리), direct­ed by Yang Ik-joon and released in 2008. The spring series, select­ed by Pro­fes­sor Myungji Yang of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence, is pre­sent­ing cin­e­mat­ic explo­rations of how pre­car­i­ous­ness and eco­nom­ic uncer­tain­ty shape ordi­nary people’s dai­ly lives in cur­rent Kore­an soci­ety.

The direc­tor of Breath­less, Yang Ik-joon, also plays the main char­ac­ter, Sang-hoon. Sang-hoon is a bru­tal and foul-mouthed debt col­lec­tor who works for a loan shark. He car­ries a note­book con­tain­ing the names and address­es of those from whom he needs to col­lect, and he lit­er­al­ly beats the mon­ey out of them. Vio­lence is a way of effac­ing child­hood mem­o­ries of how Sang-hoon failed to stand up and pro­tect his moth­er and sis­ter from an abu­sive father. One day, he acci­den­tal­ly spits on Yeon-hee, a high school stu­dent, who refus­es to put up with his rude­ness and demands an apol­o­gy. They get into an argu­ment, and Sang-hoon knocks her down. She even­tu­al­ly makes her way into his life, how­ev­er, and he begins to feel affec­tion for her. As his feel­ings for Yeon-hee grow, he con­sid­ers leav­ing his gang­ster life behind, but leav­ing the past turns out to be more dif­fi­cult than he thought.

For more infor­ma­tion about the series and about the remain­der of the sched­ule, see See below for a link to the adver­tis­ing trail­er for Breath­less.

Film screen­ings take place in the audi­to­ri­um of the Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies at 1881 East-West Road on the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i Mānoa cam­pus and begin at 6:30 p.m. Kore­an films are shown with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles.

This series is free and open to all Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i stu­dents, fac­ul­ty, and staff and to the com­mu­ni­ty at large. The series is sup­port­ed by the Tim­o­thy and Miri­am Wee Memo­r­i­al Fund at the Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the film series, con­tact the Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies at (808) 956‑7041 or Pro­fes­sor Myungji Yang ( at (808) 956‑6387.

Lim­it­ed, paid pub­lic park­ing is avail­able in the park­ing lot adja­cent to the Cen­ter and in oth­er vis­i­tor park­ing lots on cam­pus for $6.00. For more infor­ma­tion about park­ing reg­u­la­tions and loca­tions, con­sult the cam­pus park­ing office Web page.