The Chronicle of a Blood Merchant
I have watched a lot of what-i-did-for-love movies, but nothing has prepared me to the lead guy willing to sell his blood just so he can marry the girl of his dreams. *chuckles
Crafted in a traditional post Korean war background, the family featured in the film will leave you affirming realizations on love, family and life. I guarantee you will love the hero of the story in his bold ways, idiot times and fatally sweet acts.
The humble and cheerful narration from the onset of the film piqued my interest as the smooth flowing momentum when the main story conflict was inserted convinced me that it was a nice film that followed diligently the essentials of a great family movie.
There was a scene there when he asked the woman out to eat some buns and chat, and I can’t help but giggle how dating was so laid back and yet so sincere then. They were happy like that then, strolling in enjoying the night sceneries and just chatting. These days it’s a different story. ㅋㅋㅋ
Anyway going back to the movie I had so much fun watching the love couple and the blithe storytelling of this film. Ha Jung Woo oppa usually plays those kickass roles so it was refreshing to see him lovestruck and adorable in his character. It was also a pleasant and nicely done directorial project for him. The period setting was lively captured and the humor was also well-placed. I think the simple plot, easy to follow narrative and the blending of the cast propelled the invisible thread that got me hooked with it.
The initial main character’s dilemma of learning he raised someone else’s son and being petty after the big revelation was taken in a slight comedic approach given Sam Gwan’s established kind hearted character. Although fighting for the male ego which took the majority of the reality bite, he wavered because of his love for the family.
The touching scene of Sam Gwan rescuing Il Rak who was forced to do shamanic spell to call his dying father was the drawer of my first tears in the film. The captured scene was a real life reminder of how blood relation can never be a validation to prove a family connection. Sam Gwan showed a father is a father when he is willing to give his life for his son.
I laughed and cried and felt warm in my heart after watching this chronicle and I greatly recommend it for a weekend family movie night.
Heo Sam Gwan has been living a routinary life in a village after Korean war. He is constantly teased by his work friends into getting a woman in his life.
One day, his heart leapt for a pretty woman selling popcorn to the raving male population resting on their lunch break. Her name is Heo Ok Ran, sadly though she was rumored to have already been spoken for by a rich guy named Ha So Yong.
Suddenly feeling the urge to get married after experiencing love at first sight, Sam Gwan told his uncle of his plan to sell his blood which then was a lucrative way to earn money.
He was directed to seek Mr. Bang, a known blood merchant to help him with it. After giving him tips of drowning himself with water and holding his bladder before the blood donation process, the doctor in charge agreed to have their blood extracted.
They went to eat after and Sam Gwan asked Samchon Bang an advice on how he can marry a pretty girl with a boyfriend. Sam Gwan followed the advice given to him and off he went to Ok Ran’s house to speak his sincere love intentions. She declined going out to eat some buns as she is already full, but agreed to meet him the next day.
Sam Gwan paraded his hard-earned blood money and bought Ok Ran perfume, some meat and cotton candy. They sat down for lunch and Sam Gwan feeling like a king ordered delicious food for his lady love.
They finished with some coffee and Sam Gwan went straight away to his business by enumerating the cost of what he spent for Ok Ran and asking her when she will be marrying him. *chuckles
Surprised at his sudden question, Ok Ran tried returning the gifts and even when Sam Gwan promised her he will work hard to provide for her each day, she told him honestly that she can’t marry him because she is engaged to So Yong.
Unfazed of her rejection, Sam Gwan bravely visited Ok Ran’s father to introduce himself and discuss his intentions and thoughts about his daughter marrying a known womanizer. He further pitched that he will make sure that the 30-year old pop corn business will live through and that his family name will be preserved since they have the same last name.
Ok Ran’s father liked Sam Gwan’s honest proposition and commanded her daughter to break the engagement with So Yong because she will be marrying Sam Gwan. Ok Ran obediently followed her father and soon after married Sam Gwan.
After 11 years, the couple had 3 sons. They called them 1st, 2nd and 3rd happiness names, Il Rak, I Rak, Sam Rak. Meanwhile, the townspeople gossiped about how the first child of Sam Gwan and Ok Ran looked a lot like So Yong. But on the other side Sam Gwan is in deep belief that his first born looked a lot like him.
Il Rak went to visit his father to bring his packed food and curiously asked his father who Ha So Yong is since he always hear people talked about how he resembled that person.
Sam Gwan was surprised and brought him to where So Yong’s house is and told him that he is a pompous man who used to court Ok Ran, but Ok Ran chose Sam Gwan because she loved him. He further reversed their love story in telling how Ok Ran was pure and innocent and begged him to marry her even if he was not yet ready.
The sky got mad at his story so the rain suddenly poured and they went to the nearby store to seek shelter. Sam Gwan made sure Il Rak will remember not to believe the rumors. As he was paying the snack he bought for his son, the mailman who sought shelter accidentally gave the letter to Il Rak thinking he was So Yong’s son.
To stop the rumor, Sam Gwan ordered a blood test and the village people gathered for the result. He ordered Il Rak to pretend he is So Yong’s son and had him request for his blood type report to know his blood type. In the age where DNA test was not yet available, people validated paternity through blood test, faith in your lover and facial resemblance to parents.
Sam Gwan strut the letter that held the blood result and explained that Il Rak should either have A (from Ok Ran) or O (from Sam Gwan) blood type, but voila! Il Rak has an AB blood type. Sam Gwan’s was disappointed since he knew So Yong has a B blood type.
Sam Gwan raged to confront his wife and they sat down to piece out the mystery of Il Rak’s blood type. He asked if she had slept with him and she confirmed that indeed she had one unfateful encounter with him.
Sam Gwan depressed on the recent revelation gave cold treatment to his wife and children and leisurely cried his heart out over the unexpected betrayal to his wounded male ego.
One day the youngest son Sam Rak brawled with one of his playmates. He was taunted to fetch his older brothers and when he dragged his sleeping second brother, I Rak can only apologize to the big sized brother who fought with his younger brother. They fetched Il Rak to defend them, and the brave eldest brother didn’t waste time and slammed a stone to the bully and warned him to stay away from his brothers.
Il Rak damaged the opponent and the family was demanded to pay for the medical expenses. Still fuming about his wife’s infidelity, Sam Gwan denounced taking responsibility and pointed his friend to go to the true father who also showed the family registry without Il Rak’s name. Ok Ran was left no choice but to watch her things taken out from the house to cover for the hospital payment.
Donning her prettiest hanbok, Ok Ran marched to So Yong’s house to demand him to take responsibility of his cheating act 11 years ago, but the vile man and his wife denied her request and after punching the wife, So Yong pushed her to the ground with the village people ogling the humiliating scene.
Ok Ran went home battered and empty-handed as she pleaded her non-responsive husband to avenge her, but he remained focused on their cat. When Ok Ran went inside the room, he noticed his wife’s dirty shoes.
Then we see Sam Gwan back in the river where he started his get-my-first-love conquest and lectured his two sons about the cheating man who went behind his back which caused the family problem they are facing now. He made him son promised to get So Yong’s daughters pregnant when they grow up. *giggles
Sam Gwan ended up going to the clinic to sell blood and bumped with the woman he also considered marrying then. He helped her reached her house as she has some knee problems and was startled to see Il Rak waiting for him. He told Il Rak that he is allowed to call him “father” only when his mother and neighbors are present. They head home after getting back all their things together.
Sam Gwan surprised Ok Ran with their things back together when she entered their room and while he was helping her wear new shoes, the husband of the woman Sam Gwan helped earlier caused ruckus accusing Sam Gwan of raping his wife. Sam Gwan denied it and as the onlookers feasted on the encounter, Il Rak backed up his father to end the issue.
At night the younger children complained that they were hungry so Sam Gwan and Ok Ran helped their children imagine yummy dishes. Feeling the urge to provide for his family, Sam Gwan went to the doctor’s office again to sell blood. He saw his brother blood merchant pale and eating canned food but the latter quickly ended the reunion.
Sam Gwan picked up his wife who was doing the laundry and asked her to prepare the boys because they will eat out. Annoyed by Il Rak’s happy face, he discreetly called his attention and ordered him to eat sweet potato with his grandfather.
Il Rak went home still fixated about the yummy buns his family enjoyed. He even ran to So Yong’s house and bargained that he won’t call him father if he will buy him some buns, but the evil dad just slammed the window. Ok Ran who was worrying about her son confronted her husband who denied saying something to Il Rak.
So Yong met an accident and was in coma so Sam Gwan’s family had a picnic. So Yong’s wife went to see a shaman and his resolution was for his son to offer prayers.
So Yong’s wife begged Ok Ran and Sam Gwan to get Il Rak for the spirit calling to be done. She promised them that they will raise him and send him to school. Ok Ran convinced her husband who doesn’t want to give Il Rak but after some pondering of the child’s future, they had Il Rak sat down and told him about him moving to his biological father’s household.
Ok Ran accompanied her first born to So Yong’s house and they commenced with the ceremony. Il Rak was being stubborn which made the wife and shaman mad. Forced to call So Yong’s spirit, Il Rak chanted the spell given to him with a heavy heart. He spotted Sam Gwan peeping through the window whose heart was swaying about the decision to let the son he raised go and it made him cry even more. Sam Gwan listened to Il Rak’s tears and wasn’t able to hold it anymore. He forced himself inside the house and took back his son and wife.
While playing in the field, Il Rak suddenly fainted and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor recommended them to go to a bigger hospital. Sam Gwan ran like hell around the village to borrow money from his friends for Il Rak’s surgery.
Diagnosed with encephalitis, they needed big money for the operation. Left with no options, he jumped from one hospital to another to sell blood while heading to Seoul until he fainted from too much blood extraction.
He finally reached the hospital where his son was confined. He called Il Rak’s name in his dazed state and miraculously his son heard his call who was at the other side of the building. He was cast off by the hospital security and when Il Rak saw him being dragged, he rushed to be with his father.
Sam Gwan who arrived late learned that Il Rak already received surgery because Ok Ran was able to find a way for that. (Not mentioned if she sold internal organ or blood, I’ll go for the former). Sam Gwan embraced his wife and son in tears apologizing for the fate they had to face because of him.
In the last scene, we see the family together happily munching the food they once imagined eating.