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Mongryong marries the beautiful Chunhyang without telling his father, the Governor of Namwon. When his father is transferred to Seoul, Mongryong has to leave Chunhyang and finish his exams. Chunhyang, being the daughter of a courtesan, is also legally a courtesan. She is beaten and imprisoned when she refuses to obey the new Governor Byun, as she wishes to be faithful to her husband. After three years, Mongryong passes his exam and becomes an emissary to the King. He returns to Namwon, disguised as a beggar, just before Chunhyang is to be flogged to death at the governor's birthday celebration. Written by
With the Korean story telling tradition performed on stage, it was a interesting and novel way to tell the story. The story was beautiful and the moving. I figure it to be a Korean fairy tale given its happy ending and having a moral to the story.
I didn't find the story telling method completely successful. The music and drumming added tension to the film, but the Pansori seemed to intrude in the film too frequently, describing everything that is going on when it could be done visually, rendering many scenes as some sort of announcement, not letting the ambiance set in. The scene of the whipping seemed to be a little forced, having the camera show us various audience members crying, as if we don't know this is a dramatic situation. It might have worked better if they let the dialogue be spoken by the character Chunghyang instead of the Pansori, since the Pansori does not have much dynamic range in his voicing, being always loud. The character saying it while being whipped gives a different impression than the Pansori screaming it.
But all in all, still a good film.
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