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The specifically Korean tradition that is reclaimed in Sopyonje is the type of folk-song known as pansori, described as a musical sublimation of South-West Korea's collective grief and suffering - in other words, a kind of blues. The film's three central characters are itinerant pansori singers in the 1950s, a time when many aspects of Korean culture came under siege from Japanese and western influences. The story unfolds through flashbacks. A man named Dong-ho is roaming the rural hinterlands, ostensibly to find rare herbal medicines for his employer back in Seoul, but actually in search of Song-hwa, the woman he grew up with. Orphans, they were both apprenticed to the pansori master Yu-bong who pressured them to sacrifice everything for the art. Dong-ho rebelled and ran away, to become the man he is now. Song-hwa stayed, lost her sight, and outlived Yu-bong. Rumor has it that she is still traveling and still singing pansori... The tale has one truly shocking twist, but the overall ... Written by
Jay Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story, not bad in itself, is not the main point. The music is. The main characters - a father and his daughter and son - are all folk music performers, and the musical numbers, dispersed throughout the film, make up an integral part of the film. It is not easily accessible for those used to the ordinary Hollywood stuff, but well worth the time if the musical genre presented - pansori - a form of Korean folk music, and actually the main character of the picture - appeals to you. Those who don't like the music will probably be very bored and should not waste their time on this. I loved it, but I know people who would fall asleep fast if they tried to see this.
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