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Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time

Beomjoe wa ui Jeonjaeng: Nabyeon Nomdeul Jeonsaeng Sidae

Yoon Jongbin’s powerhouse entertainment (#1 at the Korean box-office this year) charts the rise of a corrupt customs officer through protection racketeering and casino management to the moment when thieves fall out.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

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  • Director-Screenwriter Yoon Jongbin
  • Producer Park Shinkyu, Han Jaeduk
  • With Choi Minsik, Ha Jeongwoo, Jo Jinwoong
  • South Korea 2012
  • 133 mins
  • Sales Showbox/Mediaplex Inc

He’s not nameless, actually. His name is Choi Ikhyun, and he’s played by Choi Minsik (star of Old Boy). But director Yoon Jongbin argues that he might as well be anonymous, since he so completely reflects the social and political conditions around him. We first encounter Choi as a corrupt customs office in Busan in 1982 and then observe his brains-and-brawn alliance with a local thug. They muscle in on nightclub-protection racketeering, but that’s a mere prelude to their dream of the big money which comes from running a casino. It’s only when they’re basking in success that the thieves begin to fall out... Yoon leaves his indie-film origins far behind in this powerhouse entertainment, the highest-grossing film of the year to date in Korea. It has obvious debts to Coppola and Scorsese, but the sardonic, satirical tone is all Yoon’s own. Whirlwind fun.
Tony Rayns

Director statement

The reason for wanting to tell a story from the 80s is because, I feel, the current societal climate is very similar. About three years ago I got a feeling that the era of my deceased father was suddenly coming back, an era in which everyone's goodwill is only reserved for their own survival and well-being. But, instead of thinking that the people of the era were selfish fools or that what they were doing was wrong, I feel it is a sympathetic era, just as how a father is a figure of sympathy and longing. In the same vein, I wanted to portray these characters as people who tried their best to survive and thrive in the condition they lived in, rather than figures who were on the wrong side of the law. People innately follow the times they live in and those who ride it provide the architecture for the next generation. The 80s was an incredibly flexible decade in which one person’s choice could change the direction of the era. Following men who lived through that decade, I wanted to show that this decade had more dramatic appeal than other decades, and wanted to ask whether people were changing in accordance to the era or they were changing the world. But before all this, I hope that the audience can laugh and identify with men who wanted to live like kings in the face of loyalty, betrayal, and ambition.
Yoon Jong-bin

Director biography

At the age of 25, he made his directorial debut with a low-budget film-school graduation feature, The Unforgiven, which tackled the subject of mandatory military service in Korea, and did so in sufficiently striking fashion as to earn an invitation to Cannes, and to win three awards from the Busan International Film Festival. His second feature – The Moonlight of Seoul – memorably inscribed the reality of urban Korean night-life and bar-culture on the screen.


2005 Yongseobadji mothan ja (The Unforgiven)
2008 Biseuti boijeu (Beastie Boys / The Moonlight of Seoul)
2012 Beomjoe Wa Ui Jeonjaeng: Nabyeon Nomdeul Jeonsaeng Sidae (Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time)

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