Kim Young-soo, a law-school graduate, was obsessed with the sacrifice of Jeon, a manual worker who protests the current labor laws by burning himself to death at 22. He tries to uncover the story of Jeon and write a biography of him. As Kim reads Jeon´s diary and interviews of people who used to know Jeon, not only does he better understand Jeon, but is inspired by his determination.
There are parallels between the life of Jeon Tae-il, a labor martyr, and Kim Youngsoo, an intellectual activist who writes Jeon’s biography. The film gives the impression that fiery passion and icy intellect keep clashing. Jeon’s life is described in black-and-white like documentary, and the year 1975 and the present after his death are portrayed in color. The contrast of color shows that the film isn’t about representing but interpreting the history. With strict narrative and structure, the film gushes out unbearable, tragic pathos at the end. [KIM Youngjin]
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