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Film / The President's Barber

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The President's Barber (Korean: 효자동 이발사; Hyojadong Ibalsa) is a 2004 South Korean comedy drama directed by Im Chan Sang that follows a barber (Song Kang-ho) and his family as he becomes a barber for Korea's president and is present during important moments of the country's history.

The film also stars Moon So Ri and Lee Jae Eung.

It was released on May 5, 2004.


Tropes for the film:

  • Adult Fear: Amid a Marxus Disease epidemic, Han-mo's son Nak-an get diarrhea, and leaves him at the police station, for him to be put under temporary care. Nak-an is then taken away by the government on suspicion of being a North Korean spy, and is tortured for information, very lightly, because he's a child. Han-mo and his wife Min-ja are without their son for weeks on end. Finally, Nak-an is sent back to them but he can't walk.
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  • Been There, Shaped History: Seong Han-mo is a simple barber caught up in an espionage plot and is hired to be the official barber of President Park Chung-hee. While cutting his hair Han-mo inadvertently sends Park into a rant about intellectuals. He was also present at Park's state visit to America.
  • Eat the Evidence: Han-mo scrapes the paint off of a portrait of President Park as a cure for his son's paralysis and stores it in a small container. Unfortunately, he is pursued by the former president's men so he eats the container so nobody would ask questions. This causes him a lot of pain afterwards as he has to excrete the container and wash it so he can get the paint out.
  • Historical Domain Character: Park Chung-hee, President of South Korea from 1963 until his assassination in 1979.

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