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Director : IM KWON-TAEK

Status: Completed

Short synopsis

Im Kwon-Taek (CHIHWAESON, CHUNHYANG) returns with an incendiary gangster epic set against the turbulent backdrop of late 20th century Korea. LOW LIFE mixes intense drama, explosive action and lavishly reconstructed period setting, to tell the story of its doomed protagonist, and also that of an entire nation in crisis.

Long synopsis

Legendary Korean director Im Kwon-Taek (“Chihwaseon, “Chunhyang) returns with his 99th feature, a vibrant and incendiary gangster epic set against the turbulent backdrop of Korea in the late 20th century.

Spanning thirty years of Korean history – from the final days of President Rhee-Seung-man’sLiberal Party regime, through the bloody Student Revolution and coup d™etat of the 1960s, to the chaotic and corrupt 1980s – “Low Life“portrays of the rise and fall of Choi Tae-woong. At first an honourable young man, he embarks on a career of crime in order to survive the turbulent and violent society in which he lives, a society ruled by rival underworld gangs, oppressive and authoritarian government regimes, and the links between them.

When sweeping political changes result in a crackdown on mob activity, Tae-woong switches allegiances and attempts to go straight, yet finds himself caught up in an equally ruthless, equally corrupt, equally deadly world.

Indifferent to the momentous times through which he is living, he sacrifices both honour and the love of his devoted wife Hae-ok in the relentless pursuit of money and power that will destroy him.

In a triumphant return to the gangster genre, Im Kwon-taek orchestrates the explosive action set pieces and beautifully reconstructed period setting with the hand of a master, recounting not only the story of his doomed protagonist, but also that of an entire nation in crisis.