Taeksi woonjunsa (2017) Script

This film is based on true events

Spring 1980, Seoul

That girl who once gave me ♪ ♪ a bouquet of flowers

Why do I miss her so much today?

Her neatly bobbed hair, ♪ ♪ like a rain-soaked blade of grass

Her sparkling eyes still ♪ ♪ shine in my heart

At times when I feel lonely, ♪ ♪ I remember that day

At times when I miss ♪ ♪ her, I begin to dream

That longing I can't forget

How cruel that time has taken her away

A TAXI DRIVER Private Taxi Lift the state of emergency! Lift it! Lift it!

No more martial law!

No more! No more!

What, is it an accident?

Disperse, or we will act with force!

I repeat.

Disperse, or we will act with force!

I wondered why today was so quiet.

Did they go to university to protest?

Enough is enough...

Spoiled bastards need to be shipped off to Saudi Arabia.

Work themselves to death in the burning desert, then they'll realize, "Wow, my country is great!"

How can you dash at my car?

If you jump out like that...


Hey, where are you going?

Hey, you!

Get back here!

Stop! Taxi!



To the hospital, quickly!

Mister, please go faster.

The first baby takes a long time, even after the water breaks.

My wife spent 12 hours in the delivery room.

The first baby's always like that.

Hey, hey, hey...

No more martial law!

Don't tell me you're that close!

Oh, whatever.

Throw out the dictatorship and bring in democracy!

We're here, honey.

My best driving ever!

This way.

Other taxi drivers won't take pregnant women.

But I did, remembering my daughter's birth.

Thanks... Honey, where's my wallet?

You packed the damn bag!

Take another look, it must be there.

Sorry but I left my wallet behind. Tomorrow, I promise...

You know how many times I heard that?

I could've bought a house with all that taxi fare!

No, I promise...

There she goes again!

It's coming!

Hold on just a second!

Here's my business card.

Call me tomorrow, I'll pay double! So sorry!

Pay me double instead?

Best of luck in there, okay?

Best of luck!

This is no place to play soccer. Go play over there!

Did she go out?

Hey princess, sleeping already?

You should eat dinner.


Who did this to you?

I fell down.

Sang-gu, that brat!

It wasn't Sang-gu! I really fell.

Are you gonna lie to your dad?

Eun-jung! Should I hit you instead?

Ma'am! Sang-gu!!

Ah, just the person I wanted to see.

What do you say about this?

How could she do this to our precious son?

But she also has...

Really, I've never seen a girl as wild as Eun-jung!

You're too soft on her 'cause her mother died!

That's a bit...

And since you're here, one more thing!

I've held my tongue because I know your situation.

But you owe me 100,000 won in rent!

I'm sorry. Ma'am, I'll...

You're 4 months late, at least tell us when you'll pay!

100,000 won is a lot of money for us too.

Sang-gu, you're sleepy! Must have eaten too much.

I don't care what my husband says, I've had it this time.

And discipline your daughter, will you?

Breaks my heart to see my son like this.

Oh, I'm hungry!

Bean sprout soup?

Hey, don't fold the backs of your shoes.

Not answering again.

Those shoes are too small. Dinner's ready.

Then ask me to buy you new ones!

Wow, tastes great.

You could get married tomorrow!

Sang-gu's mom brought that over.

Right, I thought it was too salty.

Lift your head.

Dad, do we have to move?

Yup, we're gonna buy Sang-gu's house. After I get rich.

So don't worry and study hard.


Ouch, it stings.

Then why don't you listen?

What did I say? Play nice with him, don't fight.

But he started it!

Just ignore him.

Learn to bear it. Life is never going to be fair.

Want to go on a picnic this Wednesday?

No school on Buddha's Birthday.

You should work. More customers on holidays.

Oh my, you're even worse than your mother.

Who do you take after, to be so sweet!

Under the emergency decree starting on May 18, martial law is in force, all political activity is banned, the nation's universities are temporarily closed, and labor strikes are strictly forbidden.

The recent street demonstrations by students...

So does this mean I'll lose passengers again?

May 19, 1980 Press Center, Tokyo

Beer and sushi again?

Hey Peter, how was the parliament today?

Same as always, nothing different.

This is Jürgen Hinzpeter from ARD-nDR, Germany.

He's been living in Japan for about 8 years.

It might be helpful to know him.

It's good to meet you, Mr. Hinzpeter. David John, BBC.

Just call me Peter.

It's my first time in Japan. Anything I should look out for?

It's comfortable.

That's tricky... as a journalist, you shouldn't be in a place that's too comfortable.

Excuse me?

Nothing. Where were you based before?

South Korea. It's very tense over there now.

I heard their government declared martial law.

It's always tense there.

I think it's much worse this time.

On top of the martial law, several opposition leaders were arrested, and the universities got locked down too.

What else have you heard?

I've been trying to contact some people I know, but it's... it's almost impossible to get through.

Since when?

Since last night.

Seoul, Korea

I work for the Church.

I'm a missionary.

It's been a long time.

I need to get back soon. Something doesn't feel right.

How bad is the situation?

It's been 3 days since the martial law.

Kim Dae-jung has been taken in, and they've got Kim Young-sam under house arrest.


It's a city down south.

And there's no article about Gwang-ju? No coverage, nothing?

This is the local paper from Gwang-ju.

They censored the whole page?

What exactly happened over there?

No one knows.

We got word of the first casualty at 3 AM on the 19th...

But now, even the phone lines have been cut.

What about the foreign press?

Today is Kim Jae-kyu's trial. They all went there.

But the government has eyes on them.

They can't move as they wish.

You must be careful.

I should go to Gwang-ju, first...

By yourself?

But how will you get there?

For a guy so paranoid about his car, how'd you break a mirror?

A worthless punk. He ran off after busting my car.

Why be a student if you can't be a decent human being?

All right. I'll only charge 5,000 won, okay?

What? Just take 4,000. I've had a rough day.

Have a heart, man! How can you be so cheap?

And get an inspection sometime. The engine doesn't sound right.

An inspection? I inspect my car every day.

After 600,000 km, this car is past retirement.

Easy on my car!

Try fixing it after it breaks, it'll cost you more.

Don't give me bad luck! I'm already pissed.

3,000 won, then.

That is so unfair! You know how much parts cost?

Throw this out? No way. I'll use it later.

Leave it.


Hey, what're you doing?

God, you're pathetic.


So, the kids fought again?

I gave Sang-gu a good scolding.

Ma'am! Over here!

What? Another portion for us.

No, I'm fine. Never mind!

Why not? I said I'd pay.

Don't be silly, I'll pay.

What's the occasion?

Instead, lend me some money.

I figured. How much?

100,000 won. From your private stash.

Hey! I gave it all to my sister As a secret wedding gift.

But why so much? You paid off all your debts.

It's not the rent, is it?


My god.

Only you would borrow from your landlord to pay the rent.

Lend it to me before you start saying things.

Ma'am! Give me anything quick!

What's the rush?

We need to play cards after lunch.

You guys play all you like. I'm going to Kukdo Theater.

Got a long distance. Where to?

Gwang-ju. We'll go now, and be back before curfew.

Wow, you hit the jackpot. For how much?

100,000 won.

100,000 won?

What kind of idiot would pay 100,000 for one day?

A foreigner idiot.

Oh, do you speak English?

Of course. I grew up near the U.S. army base.

Damn, and foreigners pay tips! If you add the tip...

You spent time abroad. Couldn't you handle that?

I'm sorry! Enjoy your lunch.

Ma'am, discipline Sang-gu, will you? Who does he take after?

And he eats too much. Takes after his mom?

Wait till I get that money! I'll teach that kid some manners!

Called for a taxi?

Yes, but isn't this a private taxi? I called a taxi company.

Ah yes, but the company's cars are all busy.

So I volunteered...

Does he understand what's going on?

Of course. I explained everything.

You were told everything?

Yes, to Gwang-ju and back before curfew for 100,000 won.

And you speak English?

Of course, of course!

Sure, I spent 5 years in Saudi Arabia, so I speak English.

Don't worry, don't worry! I'm Mr. Kim!

Together, let's go Gwang-ju.

Okay, nice to meet you!

Please get in.

OK, okay.

Thank you.

Be careful.

Take another taxi. This one's reserved.

Reserved? For where?


This car's going to Gwang-ju.

You Korea first time?

No. It's my second time.

Oh really?

You are where from?


Germany, oh really?

My friend...

What's the word for that?

He went to mine coal.

I know, there are many Korean workers in Germany.

Nurses, miners.

I was in Saudi, you know?

Do you know Saudi? This taxi, Saudi money.

I drive Saudi truck.

Driving in that desert, shit!

People here don't have a damned clue!

Listen, how far is it to Gwang-ju?

I don't have much time, I need to go there quick.

Why is he talking so fast?

You, fast. Huh? Slow...

So that I can English.

Slow, okay?

Okay. Gwang-ju, we go fast. Okay? Fast!

What's the hurry?

Gwang-ju, don't worry! Don't worry!

I'm best driver.

It's really far. Get some sleep.

Sleep... sleep.

You darling, you!

My recent luck's been shit all for this day.

Hey hey, Gwang-ju! Gwang-ju!

Gwang-ju? Are we here?

What's this? Can we go?

Don't slow down, keep going!

Uh, yes, yes.

What's he shooting?

What picture, what camera?

Let's go, hurry!

Why so rude? If I ask you something, answer.

And what's with this road? Can I pass, or not?

What's this?

I'm not a reporter, you understand?

Huh? What?

I said to speak slow!

Are they training?


Is this a training exercise?

What division?

I did my service in the 7th division.

This is a real operation. Turn back.

Didn't you see the sign?

My passenger's going to Gwang-ju.

You idiot, are you trying to die?

Who the hell are you?

What is he saying?

Is he asking me something?

What did he just say?

He said, let's go back. He made a mistake.


Excuse me, Driver. This direction, also Gwang-ju?

No, no Gwang-ju. Now, we go Seoul.


What are you talking about? I have to go to Gwang-ju.

That's what you think, and it's not that I refuse.

Soldier say, Gwang-ju no!

Okay, you won't get paid if you don't take me to Gwang-ju.

You understand?

What's he saying?

No Gwang-ju, no money.

No money?

Are you joking? You know how much gas we used?

Soldier say no Gwang-ju!

We can't go there!

No Gwang-ju!

You what camera picture?

Why you Gwang-ju?

Oh my god.

You know what, just take me to Gwang-ju.

That's all you should worry about what I'm doing there.

It's none of your business, okay?


You businessman?

So you go to Gwang-ju?

Yes, Gwang-ju.

No Gwang-ju, no money.

Shit, am I just going to waste gas money?


Let me ask you something.

Is there any back road to Gwang-ju around here?


Then, is there anyone who'd know...

What do you want there?

Didn't you see the soldiers?

You'd be better off heading back home.

Sir, if I can't get to Gwang-ju...

Sir, I really need to go there!

Our village foreman told us to stay clear of Gwang-ju.

Over that there hill, there is one back road...

Where is it?

Over there...

Over that side...

This road's gonna ruin my shocks.

You're lucky to have me, you know?

Any other driver would be back in Seoul by now.

Here, no soldier!

Yeah, great. No soldier.

What's going on, for them to block even this road?

Stop! Who the hell...

Turn back.

I'm just trying to earn some money...

You said you're a businessman?

Dollars, contract.


Something like this.

Very very important paper!

You forgot this, okay? In Gwang-ju.


Good day, sir! Allegiance!


I'm coming from Gimpo Airport.

That guy is a really important businessman.

He had to miss his plane to U.S., and return for important papers.

No. Turn back!

Please listen.

Without those papers, we can't export to the U.S.

I came speeding here from the airport all out of patriotism!

We need to export so we can like, get dollars! Yeah?

What's wrong? To become a developed country...

Hold on a sec.


If I don't get to Gwang-ju there will be problems, big problems!

My boss is a very important man.

He'll be very unhappy if I don't get back with those documents.

Very very unhappy! Tell him.

What did he say?

You said a hugely important...?

Tell him, not me.

Very very important paper, okay?

Very important paper.

Important man, important paper. Big, big trouble!

Hey, clear a path.

But come right back.

It's dangerous there because of the rioters.

Rioters? Yes.

Yes, we'll be back in a flash.

Allegiance! Yes.

Nice job back there!

My fare.

100,000 won now.

I've told you, I'll pay you once we get back to Seoul.

Gwang-ju dangerous.

So pay in advance.

First money.

No, it's "Ladies first," so...

Money first.

Korea business style.

Now no money, I go Seoul.

Your choice.

Go ahead and glare at me, you jerk.

Your choice!

You'll get the rest in Seoul.

Your choice!

What a fox. Are you copying me?

Still, 50,000 is nice.

I choice! Let's go Gwang-ju, okay?


What a miser.

Glare at me like that and I'll rip your eyes out.

You don't know what I'm saying, do you?

Let's go Gwang-ju, that's all I said.

To the citizens of democratic Gwang-ju...

Defend Democracy to the Death!

What's going on here?

Rescind martial law!

Stop the car, Driver. What does that mean?

Huh? What?

To the 1980s, Decade of Hope!

It says...

Hope, hope. Eight.

Ah, 80, 80. Hope.


In the 1980s...

Oh, it's just some crap. Forget about it.

What's that?

Wait, stop! Pull over.

Hey look, it's a Seoul taxi.

Whoa, it's a foreigner.

Hi. Where are you going?

What's he saying? Well...

Isn't that a camera?

Those university students speak worse English than me.

Hey, Jae-sik! You speak some English, right?

Get over here, Jae-sik.

Why me?



Where are you going?

Where are you from?

Germany. German broadcast, ARD.

German. Um.. Are you a reporter?

Yes. I am a reporter.

He's a reporter from Germany, come to shoot us.

We'll be on the news. Great!

Businessman, my ass.

If you're a reporter, you should've told me!

He rode here in a taxi from Seoul!

Let's give a hand to the taxi driver who came so far!

Ah well, from Seoul to here...

Where are you headed now?

...is pretty far.

We go to the hospital for the sick.

Can I come with you?


I'd like to interview him.

He wants to interview you.

Wow, you're a star now!

Ah, I should've at least washed my face.

You come up too, Mister.

What do you mean?

He needs to drive his taxi.

Don't worry, don't worry.

I'll be right behind you.

Me too go!

Then follow us!

Let's go!

We fight for justice, hoorah hoorah!

Live and die together, hoorah hoorah!

We'd rather die standing ♪ ♪ than live on our knees!

We fight for justice! I should've known 100,000 won was too good to be true.

Citizens of Gwang-ju, unite!

Citizens of Gwang-ju, ♪ ♪ citizens of Gwang-ju,

Citizens of Gwang-ju, unite!

Can't risk my car getting damaged in the protest again.

Oh my, taxi!

Give me a lift, mister!

Take a Gwang-ju taxi, granny. This is a Seoul taxi.

Oh, jeez.

Granny, can you even pay the fare?

Who's in the hospital?

They said someone who looks like my youngest son was brought there after a soldier smashed his head.

Is he a university student? Does he protest?

He didn't even go to high school.

Didn't come home last night.

Then he must have been out drinking with his friends!

He can't drink.

And those soldiers, they've gone berserk, beating and stabbing anyone who passes by.

Granny, I was an army sergeant. No soldier would ever do that.

Those are all just rumors, right?

Of course...

Then where the heck did he go?

No, I won't take you!

Go see if they need help.

Please drive. I have to rush.

What's your hurry?

You don't write a single line in the newspaper!

You reporters have more time than anyone now!

If reporters don't report, why should we drive?

Gwang-ju taxi drivers must be rich, turning down fares like that.


Please give me a ride.

No way.

Damn it!

Taxi, taxi!

No, this is a Seoul taxi. Take a Gwang-ju taxi.

Go to the other side!

Oh my.

What a mess.

A high school student?


Go call a doctor!



Please find my youngest son. I beg you, please...

Where are you, Yong-pyo?

Oh, Yong-pyo! My son...

Are you okay?




What are you doin' here?

Oh, you wicked boy!

I thought something awful happened to you.

Are you okay?

This ain't nothin' at all. Just three stitches.

Are you hurt anywhere else?

I'm totally fine.

Sir, thank you so much! Oh...

Thank you, really.

Mom, wear this.

Don't know what I'd have done without this taxi driver.

Thank you so much.

You got some money?

I ain't got money.

Never mind, you don't need to pay me.

See, I told you he'd be fine!

Wait! Are you that Seoul taxi...

You know me?

It's you!

Yong-pyo, you know him?

A while back, this guy... Hey, mister!

What's he doing here?

Do you have any idea how much time I wasted looking for you?

We've been driving all over trying to find you!

Where is my film bag?

Who is he to yell at my driver!

He ran off with this reporter's expensive equipment.

What are you talking about?

How dare you!

I took what? I didn't take anything!

What's going on?


Look here!

What's this doing here?

I don't know.

I really didn't know.

You said to follow, and then you sped off.

I don't know the roads here. You know how hard I searched?

Hey mister, that ain't so.

People saw you take a U-turn.

Hey, Yong-pyo! Watch it.

Would he really take off without collecting his fare?

Here, the other half of the fare.

So you just go back to Seoul. I'm better off on my own.

What? He charged 50,000 won just to come here?

Actually, they agreed on 100,000, and he already received half.

100,000 won?

What? So he got paid and tried to run off?

Take this and go!

Just take it.

Why are you giving this guy money?

He's giving us all a bad name.

Taxi drivers like this need to be taught a lesson!

Whose side are you guys on, anyway?

How dare you start shouting!

Bro, am I wrong?

Why don't you say something?

What would I say?

If he received his fare... would he really just ditch his passenger?

Man, you're so wishy-washy.

I'm not wishy-washy.

I'm firm when I need to be. Don't you know me?

Hey, Seoul Driver! You'll pay for doing that.

As a driver it's wrong, and as a human being it's wrong!

How dare you talk to me that way!

I guess everything they said about you was true!

Let me take a look at your license number.

What the hell are you doing?


I'm not receiving anything, alright?

Let's go.

College boy! Are you gonna ride around in my car all day?

He asked me to translate...

Do your parents know what you're doing?

Why are you chewing me out?

Didn't you see back there?

Your mother must be worried sick.

Paying that expensive tuition, did you go to university to protest?

You went to study, right? Then you should study, dammit!

I didn't go to university to study.

I went to compete in the university song contest.

Then why not spend this time practicing your singing?

Mister, you don't know what you're talking about.

You students think other countries are as nice as ours?

Go to Saudi Arabia! In that hot, burning...

What's so great about a country where soldiers assault you?

Then why do you keep protesting?

They keep telling you to stop, but you won't listen!

How is it that this foreigner understands better than you?

Forget it.

Seven o'clock go Seoul, okay?


Promise, seven o'clock!

Is he going in the right direction?

Yeah, don't worry. This is the right direction.

We turn right here, and then we go more.


Oh my god!

Mister, you missed the right turn!

Gas, gas!

I'm going to fill the gas tank!



Stop, stop.

3,000 won's worth, but like a full tank.

Who do you think I am?

I'm not that kind of person!

What did I just say?

You're not that kind of person.

No, I said 3,000 won.

Right? Yes.

Stop pumping! What, are you crazy?

What are you doing? What's wrong?

I asked for 3,000 won's worth. 3,000 won only!


You think I'm gonna pay more?

I may be an out-of-towner, but this is outrageous!

I'm only gonna pay 3,000 won.

Look at this guy.

What are you so angry about, me giving you a bit more gas when it's all free anyway.

If I filled it full, you'd have me by the throat.


Did you think everyone in Gwang-ju was just like you?


Why didn't you say it's free? I'd have filled the tank full.

Then fill it before you head back to Seoul.

Of course! The gas fare to Seoul is costly.

But why is it free?

You saw that taxi at the hospital?

Taxi drivers have one helluva of a job these days.

Some were arrested for transporting wounded people.

What's wrong about that? You can't choose who you take.

That's my point.

We didn't do anything wrong to be suffering like this.

Gwang-ju citizens, to the Provincial Office!

Drive out the martial law soldiers!

That way, mister. Over there.

Citizens of Gwang-ju! We're all in this together!

Drive out the soldiers!

Drive them out and protect our city!

Citizens of Gwang-ju! Let's all take action!

Coming through! News reporter here!

All the way from Seoul to report, so please make way.

Thank you, thanks!

That's a reporter!

A foreigner?

Thank you!

Flew all the way here?

Make way, people!

Best to set out on a full stomach. Have some.

What's this? Thank you.

Hungry? Try one. Thank you.

Is it okay to take this? We already ate!

Thanks so much!

Thanks to you, too!

Mister, we'll be back in no time. Why bother?

If my car gets scratched, are you gonna pay for it?


Hello? Where are you from?

ARD Germany. My name is Peter.

I'm Choi, a local reporter. How did you get here?

I heard all the roads to Gwang-ju are blocked.

I came by taxi.

Live and die together, hoorah hoorah!

We'd rather die standing than live on our knees!

We fight for justice!

Afternoon of May 20, 1980 Geumnam Street, Gwang-ju

Citizens of Gwang-ju, unite!

Citizens of Gwang-ju, citizens of Gwang-ju, Citizens of Gwang-ju, unite!

Can you hold this?

Yeah, okay, sure.

What a jerk.

Wow, Jeolla Province really does have the best food.

Looks simple, but tastes great.

The seasoning is perfect!

Be very careful.

The Korean press is not allowed here, and foreign press is not welcome.

If they find you are here, the government will hunt you down.

And the people helping you.

What, you want one?

Have a bite. Nothing's happening there.

No, thank you.

Why so serious all of a sudden?

It's nothing.

I have to join them.

Don't get involved, stay here.

How can I just watch?

What difference will it make?

Okay. Let's get down there.

Where? There?

No, no, no, here stay. There danger.

Here safe.

You stay, we go down.

That guy's just shooting from up here, too.

Where are you going?

What's going on?

Drive out Chun Doo-hwan!

Danger, danger.

If you're gonna shoot, do it from there.

It's too dangerous here.

Let's go, will you?

Are you okay?

Sorry, sorry!

What the hell is wrong with you?

That's why I said, it's too dangerous here!

Let's go. Don't touch!

Mister, the soldiers have gone crazy.

Hurry up and run!

Damned commie needs to be taught a lesson!

Get rid of him!

Hey, who's that?

Get him.

Do you have a death wish? We need to go!

Mister, this way! This way!

Over here!


Huh? Isn't she...?


Mister, hurry up!

That's why I kept saying danger!

Is that thing expensive?

I've never seen one before. Should I ask him?

No, don't ask.

What? It wasn't my fault.

But why were those soldiers acting that way?

Beating and chasing people who weren't doing anything.

I don't know either. We just don't know why.

Oh god, look at the time.

Hey! Let's go Seoul.

Yeah, okay. Let's go back to Seoul.

Okay, okay.

Then, what about you? We're going to Seoul.

Yes, of course. Then let me off up there.

Okay. Thanks.

Please promise me.

You have to show our news.

Once this footage airs, the entire world will be watching.

You are not alone.

Thank you so much.

Sir, have a safe trip back.

Wait, kid!

What's your name?

Jae-sik. Gu Jae-sik.

Gu Jae-sik... Practice hard, okay?

I'll watch your song contest on TV.


Have a safe trip.

Come on, not again.

Did it break down?

What happened?

Isn't that...?

I told you it was him! The Seoul driver.

You were right.

Car's broken?

That's bad.

Man, the repair shop's closed.

Sure is. Yeah.

I'm sure they'll fix it soon.


Is this your daughter?

Whoa, she's so cute!

You've got hidden talents! And your wife is pretty too.

What a relief she took after her mother instead of...

His daughter, huh? Pretty, isn't it?

Ah, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...

No touch!

You ready?

Yeah, just a sec. Okay.

Ready. Try starting it!

Give it a go.

This car already ran over 600,000 km!

How'd you drive all the way here?

The transmission is too old. Need to change the starter?

That's a bummer.

I heard the repair shop's all out of parts.

What about parts from another car? He can have mine.

I changed my starter recently, so better switch with mine.

Then, leave it here for now.

I'll find a way to make it run a short distance.

How long will it take?

I need to be in Seoul before the curfew.

It'll take at least 2 hours. Yeah.

Better leave for Seoul tomorrow.

Curfew here is 9 o'clock.

You don't want to be out past curfew.

Is there a phone somewhere? What for?

Those bastards have cut all the phone lines.


Isn't there any way? I need to call home.

What're you so worried about?

If a man's out working, he can stay out a night or two.

My daughter's home alone. And she's only 11.

Then where's her mom?


Oh, that poor thing.

Too young to be alone...

Oh my.

Mr. Kim, if it's about money, let me pay for the repairs.

You bastard, did I ask you for money?

You knew everything, right?

Danger, you knew it!

Why are you yelling at me?

It's not my fault your car broke down.

And you knew exactly that it would be dangerous here!

What's this prick saying?

Mister, calm down! He says you knew the danger.

Bullshit! Like hell I did!

And why do you keep taking this foreigner's side, huh?


Just take the money.

Take the money. Take the money, here.

Get that away from me!

Get it away!

Oh my.

Just stop it!

Just calm down, stop it!

My, oh my...

His young daughter at home alone.

But he can't go back to Seoul. He cannot call.

Jürgen Hinzpeter, Asia Correspondent for Germany's public broadcaster.

He came in from Japan.

What are those assholes in the security service doing?

He entered without registering as a reporter, so they missed him.

He declared himself a missionary.

He seems to have planned the whole thing.

He's using a Seoul taxi, so we'll find him soon.

So that's where you live... the corner house?

Yes, next to it.

We're almost here.

Come on, hurry.

Honey? I'm home!


Goodness, why are you back so late?

There was a lot going on.

Did you stay up waiting for Daddy?

Who are they?

It's a long story. Can you make us dinner?

Yes, but not much to eat. Fine with just kimchi.

Come on, let's go in. Please...

It's okay if we have kimchi...

Get in!

Oh, my!

Is this all we've got for such important guests?

Don't worry. Your neighbor will look after your daughter.

You can call her on the way tomorrow morning.


Dad, I'm hungry.

Oh, go ahead and eat. You're hungry?

Try this first. My wife made it.

It's crisp, slightly bitter, but with a real kick...

Not sure if it's your style, but please try.

Give it a try.

That's hot!

This is spicy, hot.

Oh, not a problem. I can handle spicy.

Wow, he eats well.

Oh my god. This is a shock.


What? Water!

Too spicy for him!


No wonder. He ate it too easy.

What are you laughing for?

You come to a foreign country, break a camera, eat kimchi.

You've been through a lot, too.

Why'd you come here?

Why you come here?


Was that English?

Seoul drivers speak English?

I'm a reporter.

Reporters go wherever there is news.

Then try translating what he just said.

I'm a reporter here for the news something like that...

Is that right?


You're amazing. I never would've guessed!


Why you become a reporter?

What's that, a poker card? I used to play, too...

Not that, money. He means money.

He means he did it because of the money?


Where do you spend your money?

A hole in your sock.

He acts like such a big shot, but I guess he's not.

How can you be worse off than a widower like me?

Martial Law Soldiers Massacre Civilians in Gwang-ju Now that's a real newspaper!

There's no turning back after this. So if anyone...

Are you the only reporter here?

We've all made up our minds.

Open the door!

Are you trying to close us down?

But Chief! We're reporters, aren't we?

Shouldn't we at least try to tell the people what's happening here and why?

What will happen then?

They will shut us down, and drag us all off!

Come on, get them out!

Let go! Chief! Chief!

Will this stop bullets?

Of course not. It's to cover the lights.


It's time for evening news.

Why bother watching useless crap?

Who knows, maybe they'll say something today.

I doubt it...

The disturbance in Gwang-ju... It's on. is not yet contained...

Have some fruit. Hey, quiet!

...with student radicals and gangsters gathering in Gwang-ju and spreading groundless rumors.

To date, 1 civilian has been killed, and 5 members of the military...

Those fuckers!


How can they say that? So many people died today!

Is the news just allowed to lie like that?

Why did we have to watch that crap?

God that sets me off!

That's not true.

As soon as I get back to Japan, my footage will hit the news.

The whole world will see.

Mr. Kim will take me back to the airport, and...

Anyhow without him, I would have never made it to Gwang-ju.

He can broadcast it when he gets to Japan, with Mr. Kim's help.

And Mr. Kim also helped him get pass the soldiers blocking the roads.

You're amazing. Both of you.

Well, a driver has to go where the customer says.

Don't worry, don't worry.

I'll take you right to the airport tomorrow.

Airport, okay?

By the sound of it, I should plead to both of you...

Please make this work.

I'd beg you on my knees, really!

No, I'm really good at that.

On my knees!

Forget that.

Sing us a song instead. He's entering a song contest.

We'll judge if you deserve a prize, so sing!

Oh, no way! Please.

I do guitar, not vocals.

What's the difference?

Give him a hand!

What should I do?

Wow, looking good!

♪ What can I do if you ♪ ♪ leave me like this? ♪

♪ What can I do to go on ♪ ♪ living without you? ♪ What? Why ring the gong?

Students may protest against you, to stop you from singing.

I told you, I play guitar! But I'm not that bad!

I shouldn't have asked him to sing.

Is that a new song?

I guess I'm no good.

You're really not a singer.

But there's something striking about him.

See, I told you!

Oh, my. He looks just like your brother.

That's right! Yes, they're similar!

You mean Sang-chul? Yeah.


Right, why didn't I see it before?

I have a younger brother.

You look just like him.

What do you think? Same-same?

What do you mean? He looks like my husband.

Same, same.

I look like Peter, right?

Oh no!

What's that?

What's this sound?

That's by the TV station.

Yeah, I think so.

Bro! People are gathering over by the TV station!

The taxi drivers are all heading there, too.

Really? I'll see you there.

Night of May 20, 1980 Near Gwang-ju MBC TV Station

The foreign reporter! Get the radio!


Mister, look out!

They're plainclothes soldiers!

What? Plainclothes?

Damned commies!

Go hide up there. I'll bring it up.


Where is he?

He didn't come this way.


I know you're up there.


If you give me the camera and film, you two, no...

the three of you including this kid... can go free.

What is he saying?

I'll count to ten.

And I'll let you decide what the wise choice is.

He wants this.

Then we can live, and Jae-sik too.

Give safe.

Let's give it to him.

One, two,


four, five,

What are you doing? six, seven,



Wait a minute!

The foreign reporter might be close by.

Let me speak in English to him.

I'll beg him to save me.

Can you hear me?

I can't hold this soldier much longer.

So please, go now and show the world what's happening in here.

Where are you going? So please...

We need to give him this.

They're coming up!



Give me the bag!

Get away!

I'm okay!

Over there!

Get him!


Where's the damn reporter?

Where are you running, commie?

Spare me, I'm not a commie!

You prick! Damn commie!

I'm really not a commie!

I'm not even from Gwang-ju. I'm from Seoul.

#10-8, Hwayang-dong 384, Sungdong-gu, Seoul.


I know.

The Seoul taxi.

You're that commie who brought in the German reporter.

The shit bastard who sold his country for money!

And yet you say, "I'm not a commie!"

"I'm not a commie!"

"I'm not a commie!"

"I'm not a commie!"

How dare you...

We have to get out of here.

My god, I was so worried!

I'm glad you made it back. But where's Jae-sik?

Wasn't he with you?


You know...

I earned some money in Saudi Arabia.

But my wife got sick and I spent it all on hospital bills.

At the end, my wife insisted that I buy that taxi.

And the doctor said so too,

so I should look after our daughter.

We could have tried more meds,

but I didn't argue. That's the kind of guy I am.

The rest have to go on living, right?

Because after my wife died, I got drunk every day.

One day I woke up,

she was crying holding onto her mom's old clothes.

She must have missed her so much.

I quit drinking that day.

I'm the only one she has left.

What are you doing?

The paratroopers are searching for a Seoul taxi!

Should've said you're going. You don't even know the roads!

Here, take this and...

These are hidden roads out of Gwang-ju.

And the reporter asked me to give you this.

How can I accept that?


If a driver took a passenger, he should accept the fare!

Just take it.

I can't take that money.

Just the repairs will cost you a lot.

Don't argue. Just take it!

On your way, now.

Your daughter must have waited all night. Hurry.

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

Why are you sorry?

Bastards out there should be.

It's damn fine weather.

Come visit with your daughter someday.

We'll take my son and go on a picnic.

Take care of yourself.

You take care.

It'll take an hour to fix it.

Don't stay cramped in here.

There's a Buddha's day celebration or something like that over there.

Go take a walk around.

Can I use the phone?


Dong-su, is my daughter there?

Where have you been?

Is she with you?

She just fell asleep. Wake her up?

No, let her sleep.

Is she okay?

If you're so worried, why did you stay out?

Did you really get that money?

Give me the phone.

Mr. Kim! Where are you?


I'm in the countryside and my car broke down.

I left 2,000 won in my drawer. Please give it to Eunjung...

She's been up all night waiting, so why make promises!

Hey, give me the phone!

You'll be back soon? Let's talk then. Stop it!


How old is your daughter?


Then how about these?

These are sturdy and nice. Moms love them.

They're really popular!

If she's 11, she'll need size 200...

Give me size 210.

Size 200 is getting small for her.

What a thoughtful father. You know her shoe size!

Those are a bit expensive...

A bowl of noodles, please.

Huh? I thought you went bill collecting?

Ended up wasting my time.

Ma'am, another bottle of soju!


What, people wouldn't pay?

I couldn't even get into Gwang-ju.

I heard people were killed in Gwang-ju, I guess it's true!

People were killed?

Yeah, soldiers raided the city, and all hell broke loose.

What are you talking about?

I don't know for sure, but I heard many people were killed, and a whole bunch arrested.

That's not it.

A few innocent soldiers were killed in violent college student protests.

No, someone really saw people getting killed there.

It was in the news.

Not just students, but hardcore Communists.

They even brought gangsters from Seoul!

Really? It was in the news?


It's in the newspaper too, a full-page story.

If they want to protest, why not just do it in Seoul?

Protests in Gwang-ju Keeping me from doing my job.

Rogue Groups and Rioters...

You must've been really hungry. Have this, too.

It's delicious... Delicious.

Taxi, taxi!

So pretty.

Always bought her sneakers, never a nice pair of shoes...

Eun-jung will love these.

The river water flows

Under the 3rd Han River Bridge

Like a bird, like wind, like water

It continues to flow

Yesterday I met you again

And we struck a solemn vow

That in the morning we'd ♪ ♪ take the first train

And leave together...

Eun-jung, what should I do?

What do I do?

One more phone call, please.

Eun-jung, are you awake?

Daddy, are we going on a picnic?

Sorry, there's something I need to do.

Let's go another time.


I left a customer behind.

Someone who really needs to take my taxi.

I'll come home right after.

So, be nice and don't fight with Sang-gu.

Until Mt. Baekdu is worn away and the East Sea's waters run dry, God protect and preserve our country.

Where has he gone?

To the hospital.

The hospital?

Why are you back?

The paratroopers dragged him off,

and he died on the way.

So they just threw him in a rice field.

There aren't enough coffins in Gwang-ju.

So some students went to get more...

Why are you sitting there?

You need to record all this.

You promised, to tell people.

It needs to be broadcast so people will know.

You're a reporter, shoot this.

Jae-sik, and this too.


Open your eyes!

How can you leave me

and our unborn baby!

Make way!

Over here, Doctor! Please help over here.

He's been shot.

Bro, what do we do?

They're really trying to wipe us all out!

People were singing the national anthem, when the paratroopers just started shooting.

God, so many people have been shot!

We need to get there.

You two go to Seoul, quickly.

I'm coming with you!

Mr. Kim, you go back to Seoul. I need to keep filming.

Hey, hey.

You paid me the fare.

We go together.

I taxi driver, you taxi customer.


Okay! Together.

Dear citizens of Gwang-ju.

One, stay at home. Two, don't believe rumors.

He needs hospital, now!

Get ahold of yourself!

Why are they shooting us?

Don't go out.

My god, look at that.

What's going on here?

Over there! She's shot!

Get a hold of yourself!

How can they just shoot people?

How can they do this to us?

How many times has it been?

They really plan to kill us all!

We can't leave injured people like that!

That's it. Let's drive our taxis in.



I can drive well. Let's go together.

Look! The taxi drivers!

Thank you.


Young-pyo! Are you okay?

Hey, duck down.

Let's help them!

Let's save the wounded! Come on!

Don't lose focus. Come here.

Are you okay?

Please help me!

Bro, get in here!


Here, over here!

Hold on a sec.

You need to go now.

They're getting closer.

You have to go now. Or it will be impossible.

Let us take care of this.

Go back, and please, prove all their lies wrong!

We cannot do it, but you can. Please, for us.

Go quickly! Things are getting bad here.

Mr. Kim, we must go now.

Block all checkpoints.

Can you get us out?

Don't worry.

I'll get you to the airport no matter what.

Good afternoon.

Where are you going?

I'm taking a customer to Seoul.

Is it a Seoul taxi?

No, a Gwang-ju taxi.

Where's your home?


Answer, you bastard!

And why don't you have a Gwang-ju accent?

I moved here not long ago.

What's going on? Why are you stopping us?

Hey, college boy! What's this bastard saying?

Where are you going?

I'm here on business.

But it's so dangerous in Gwang-ju, you know all these riots?

So we go back to Seoul.

He came on business but leaving to escape the riots.

Both of you, out of the car.

I don't understand. What's the problem?

Get out now.

Being a foreigner won't save you. Get out.

Open the trunk.

These are his souvenirs.

From Buddha's Birthday.

Let them through.

Sergeant, we have to stop all foreigners.

He's not a reporter, and it's not a Seoul taxi.

Let them through.

I said, let them through.

Yes, sir.

They said to stop taxis with foreigners!

Hey, close it!

A-34, A-34. Car with foreigner on the run.

Plate number 0310.

A-34, A-34. Car with foreigner on the run.

Plate number 0310.

This is awesome.

Run them over.


Shoot them all!

Damn it!

Bro, go faster!

Don't worry about me!

Come on bastards, let's go at it!

What's going on back there?

I'm sorry...

Take care of yourself!

Don't worry about us!

Step on it.

Step on it!

Yes, we're searching everywhere. Don't worry, sir.

He called the airport just now and reserved a flight.

Commander, we found him!

He booked the 10am plane to Japan tomorrow.

Yes, sir!


Mr. Hinzpeter?


Our system shows that you have a flight booked for tomorrow at 10am?

Yes, but I'm somehow here today, so I'd like to get onto the first flight out to Japan and make it first class.

For your daughter.

This is for me?

Thank you.

Please give me your phone number.


Your taxi. I'd like to pay for all the damage.

I'll get the news broadcast, then come right back to Korea.

I'll call you when I return.

Ah, I forgot to buy cigarettes.


Sa-Bok Cigarettes

Here you are.

Hey, stop that!

You're a good man.

You did a good job.

You... you good job too.

Learn Korean, before you come next time.

Come back, speak Korean, okay?


Go on.

The curfew starts soon.

Did your dad run off? Cause he's so poor?

Sang-gu! Stop bothering your friend!

But she hit me first!

How'd you end up that way?

Eun-jung, come have some fruit. Get in!



I'm sorry.

You waited so long...

Daddy, why are you crying?


There's still no end in sight to the democratic uprising in the Korean city of Gwang-ju.

From looking at the wounded, we can witness the violence done to protesters in the last two days.

The army has blockaded the city and cut off all telephone and telex.

According to military sources, as of Wednesday, there have been 9 deaths and about 60 people were injured.

However, students and protesters mention much higher figures,

Are you sure you searched everywhere?

Yes, but there's no taxi driver with this name.

Kim Sa-bok So even the number is wrong.

Kim Sa-bok may not be his real name.

It might be better not to look for him.


It is a great honor for me to receive this award here in Korea.

I still remember the faces of the citizens I met in Gwang-ju, that spring of 1980.

And I will never forget.

But there is one face in particular that I miss dearly.

My brave friend, Kim Sa-bok.

He is a taxi driver.


Hey, young man!

Sorry, sir. I only have 10,000 won.

That's fine. Go on.

Thank you!

Watch your step.

Hey, wait!

Without him, news of the Gwang-ju Uprising would have never reached the world.

Oh my.

I'm afraid my words fail to express my gratitude, but you're always in my thoughts.

Mr. Kim, my dear friend.

Thank you.

I've missed you.

I'll keep waiting.

I hope to see you again soon.

He said if not for Kim Sa-bok's help he could never have made the report, and he wishes to see him again.

I'm more grateful to you.

Thank you, thank you.

I wanted to see you again, too.

At least I see you like this.

You've grown old too.

Hello, where to?

To Gwanghwamun, please.

Gwanghwamun, okay.

It would be truly wonderful if I could meet you again.

Oh... really, I'd be happy beyond words.

If I could find you through this footage, and then meet you once again, I would just be so happy.

I'd rush over to Seoul in an instant, ride with you in your taxi, and see the new Korea.