Green Fish. 1997. South Korea. Written and directed by Lee Chang-dong. With Han Suk-kyu (or Han Seok-gyu), Mun Seong-kun, Shim Hye-jin, Song Kang-ho. 35mm. In Korean; English subtitles. 111 min.
Fresh off military duty, Mak-dong (Han Suk-kyu) returns home hoping to build a small family business and live happily thereafter with his mother and brothers. But his life takes an unexpected turn when he is lured into the underworld of criminal gangs, with the promise of material comfort beyond his imagination. Unprepared for this environment of violence and exploitation, Mak-dong must face the dire consequences of his choices. Lee Chang-dong’s first feature establishes his enduring gift for juxtaposing personal experiences with their cultural, social, and economic contexts, dramatizing the loss of innocence in a rapidly changing Korea.