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.... See full summary »
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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
Very beautiful and worth seeing, but I wouldn't want to see a steady diet of films in this style
This Korean film is told through both pansori and live-action. Pansori is a style of Korean singing/drama that consists of a singer and a drummer and very, very long epic stories are sung dramatically. Seeing the robe-clad singer gesticulate and dance about with his fan was pretty interesting and a nice lesson in Korean culture. Plus, once I got used to the style, it was interesting as he narrated large portions of the live-action story and it reminded me quite a bit of Chinese opera. However, and I know this will make me sound rather shallow to some, but after a while the singing wore me down and I really don't look forward to seeing many more films in this style. Maybe this is the Asian equivalent of sitting through one of Wagner's operas (another endurance test for the audience). In both cases, the performances may be four or more hours long!
The story itself is an 18 century legend about two young lovers, the tragedy that befalls one of them and the very uplifting and satisfying conclusion. The son of a governor falls in love with a concubine's daughter. Despite being from totally different social classes, they secretly marry. The young man wants to tell his parents, but needs to wait until he takes his civil service test, as he wants to make a name for himself before publicly acknowledging the marriage. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when a new governor is appointed. He's exceptionally cruel and unyielding. Exactly what happens next is something you'll have to see for yourself, but I can assure you it is very exciting to watch and worth the wait--as the film improves the further along it goes.
Beautiful cinematography, this is a lovely little legend come to the screen. It's well worth a look, but I strongly doubt that many Westerners out there will quickly embraced this very unusual film. It takes a bit to get used to the style, but it's well worth it.
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