A TAXI DRIVER
Directed by Jang Hoon
Closing Night Film, 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival
South Korea’s Foreign-Language Film Submission, 2018 Academy Awards
More relevant than ever, A TAXI DRIVER is about journalism as truth-teller against corruption, against the suppression of dissident voices, and against government violence toward its naysayers. It’s also about how quickly ordinary folks can end up on the front lines whether they want to or not, and ultimately have the power to alter history.
Seoul taxi driver Man-seob (the great Song Kang-ho) is a widowed single dad who jumps at the chance to earn extra cash from a German reporter, Peter, who is set on finding out what’s happening in Gwangju, where there have been rumors of a violent military massacre of innocent students and the embargo of any news into and out of the city. Normally decidedly apolitical, Man-seob finds himself a smuggler for justice and having to rethink his priorities about what kind of world to leave for his daughter.
Alternating between laughs and flying bullets, this touching true story captures an unlikely friendship and a turn of events that would forever shape democracy in Korea. Director Jang Hoon (The Front Line, Secret Reunion) lets political and melodramatic passions run free and transforms the Song Kang-ho everyman into the hero we all need. –Eric Lallana