Movie: Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (허삼관)
Director: Ha Jung-Woo
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Runtime: 124 min.
Genre: Family / Comedy / Drama / Melodrama / Period-1950 / Period-1960
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Country: South Korea
Ha Jung Woo – Heo Sam Kwan
Ha Ji Won – Heo Okran
Nam Da Reum – Heo Ilrak
I didn’t read the synopsis, I always thought this was a comedy but it was so much more. This was adapted from a Chinese novel by Yuhua and changed to Korean setting. Ha Jung Woo is the director and the star of the movie. It’s about a guy, Sam Kwan, who sold blood to earn money to marry the prettiest girl in town, Okran. 11 years later with 3 kids, there are rumors that the eldest son is not Sam Gwan’s biological son but is from Okran’s ex-boyfriend. The movie shows the love between father and son. Even though they were not blood related, Ilrak basically grew up with the family and have always known Sam Kwan as his dad and vice versa.
The first half was light comedy but in the middle, when Sam Kwan found out Ilrak, who is his favorite child, was not actually his, he stopped showing him fatherly affection. It was heartbreaking to see Ilrak look so confused for suddenly being the favorite eldest son to a shunned illegitimate child, whose fathers (real and step) refuse to acknowledge him.
Four major scenes (and spoilers so dont read if you want to watch) that made me cry were when Sam Kwan told Ilrak to go away and not join the family’s dumpling dinner and Ilrak went to his real father’s house, asking for dumpling but he got rejected. Eventually Sam Kwan couldn’t resist and found Ilrak crying and hiding in the alleys and brought him home. Another was when the real father was dying and Ilrak was being forced to say “Father come back, don’t leave me” as part of a ritual, but then he sees Sam Kwan watching from a window and Ilrak starts begging for Sam Gwan to come back and take him home. Sam Kwan interrupts the ritual and takes Ilrak home. Then Ilrak falls ill with the same illness as his real father, and Sam Kwan almost died going town to town selling blood to earn money for his surgery. They finally meet in Seoul and their reunion was so touching.
I can’t believe Nam Dareum was so young in this drama!! So cute and great acting, from him. He had great chemistry with Ha Jung Woo. And now in 2022, he’s grown up and serving the army.