Actor Kyung Soo leaves Seoul to visit an old classmate. The reunion with his friend does not amount to much, but the trip does lead to some romantic encounters. He gets involved with two ... See full summary »
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>
Just like its Chinese brother 'Huang tu di' by Chen Kaige is 'Sopyonje' driven forward by its songs, but unlike the former is not the content of the songs most important, the art of the singing is. This art is called pansori, and is a Korean tradition with cousins in China and Japan. In 'Chiwaseon' did I'm Kwon-Taek portray the mad drunken master of a special calligraphy school, here he portrays the mad father that refuses to let go of the art as new times are dawning and has ambitions higher than anyone could accomplish and end up hurting his closest.
I'm Kwon-Taek is a true master at display here. Granted that you are interested in these arts, this movie will hold a strong grip on you from beginning to end by the power of its songs. The lead actress did an amazing job full of emotion through small gestures. Now, please get me one of those scrolls and a record of pansori, please.
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