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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>
One of the very best films to come out of South Korea. SOPYONJE tells the tale of pansori singers trying to survive in a world that no longer cares about them. The plight of the pansori singers is an allegory for traditional South Korea, a country being overrun by modernization and the Western world in the aftermath of World War II.
The film's soundtrack alone is worth watching. I've never heard such haunting and beautiful singing in my life. Truly, a masterpiece that deserves to be remembered.
10 out of 10
(go to www.nixflix.com for a more detailed review of this film and reviews of other foreign movies)
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