Top 25 Korean Films - No. 17

The Pollen of Flowers (Dir. Ha Gil-jong, 1972)

My first 70s Korean film is also one of the boldest from this dark era of Korean history. Highly politicized and featuring a surprising amount of queer themes, which take place in a home called ‘The Blue House’ (also the name for the Korean head of state’s residence) no less, The Pollen of Flowers was an imposing debut from Ha Gil-jong, a USC-trained filmmaker who brought back with him an enormous array of world cinema influences, as far-ranging as Italian avant-guard masters Pasolini and Antonioni to the psychological Swedish auteur Bergman.

Made in a time with limited resources, the film has a rough-around-the-edges feel which is made up for with an unerring attention to narrative and themes, and some potent mise-en-scene that goes against the grain with some deliberate mashups of incongruous elements that synthesize to surprising and successful effect. A small masterpiece and still the only of Ha’s films I’ve seen. Terribly excited for March of Fools (1975) to find its way to Blu-ray later this year!

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