A Taxi Driver
In 1980, Kim Man-seob is a widowed father who works as a taxi driver in Seoul. One day, he overhears another taxi driver talking about a foreign client who has booked him for a trip worth 100,000 won (or roughly 565 USD); the client intends to travel to Gwangju for the day and return to Seoul before curfew. Man-seob rushes off to steal the client. The client is Jürgen “Peter” Hinzpeter, a West German journalist who wishes to report on the increasing civil unrest in Gwangju. Due to strict censorship, foreign reporters are prohibited from entering the country. Peter pretends to be a missionary in order to enter South Korea. Man-seob meets Peter and lures him into his taxi before heading off to Gwangju.
The two men discover that all the roads leading to Gwangju are blocked and heavily guarded by soldiers. Man-seob tries to convince Peter that they should return to Seoul, but the latter refuses to pay the 100,000 won unless they reach Gwangju. They manage to enter the city after they lie about Peter being a businessman. In Gwangju, they find that all the shops are closed and the streets are deserted. Man-Seob dismisses the severity of the city’s state as he believes that the recent riots were caused by students who only “go to school to protest” in part due to the news reporting misinformation. Peter begins to record his observations on his camera, and the two men meet a group of college students who are riding on a pickup truck. The leader of the group, Yong-pyo, invites Peter aboard. They also befriend English-speaking student, Jae-sik. Man-seob decides to turn back, reluctant to have his taxi damaged in the riots. Along the way, he takes pity on an old woman looking for her son and she leads him to the local hospital. The woman’s son turns out to be Yong-pyo, who is in the hospital with minor injuries. Peter and the college students scold Man-seob for his selfishness and refuse to let Peter pay him until he fulfills the agreed trip.
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