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....
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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
Before video, before film, before printing, before writing -- people told and sang stories.
"Chunhyang" is a wonderful way to experience this oral tradition, listening to the music of language as chanted by a Pansori telling a Korean folk tale. For those of us without facility in the Korean language, the film paints for us the images conjured by the singer. These are beautiful images of a colorful, far-away land in ancient times -- images locked into the race memory of the Korean people familiar with the story, but now on the screen for our benefit as well.
This collision of old and new art forms generates a synergy evident, for example, in the scene in which Chunhyang is beaten for refusing to take to the evil lord's bed. Most of this takes place off-screen -- instead we see shots of the Pansori and of his audience, sitting on the edge of their seats and weeping as he tells of the heroine's defiance. It was one of the most gut-wrenching scenes I've experienced in many years.
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