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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 <email@example.com>
Sopyonje brought me to my knees before a tradition that previously was unknown to me - pansori. The power, tenderness, and pain that lies in art, in life, longing, and the music was conveyed in full force and with beauty. I couldn't directly understand the Korean words (subtitled) that were spoken or the songs that were sung, but i could feel and was in awe of the emotions especially in the second half of the movie. I can still hear the melodies, voice, and the drum.
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