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The struggles of an artist. Jang Seung-up (1843-1897), also called Owon, focusing on the years 1882 to 1897, when Korea was in political upheaval, caught between China and Japan, the conservative dynasty dying, and peasant revolt at hand. Jang, born poor, has genius; a merchant, Kim, becomes his patron, finding him a teacher. Jang must convince others that a commoner can have talent, then move beyond his ability to copy old masters and find his own style. He's bedeviled by a temper and alcohol, arguments with patrons as he seeks commissions, and relationships with kisaeng, particularly Mae-hyang, that start and stop. It's the life of a restless spirit producing great art.Written by
Visual beauty to feast on; an artist's genius to inspire
For one in love with nature and art, with both brought to the screen in breathtaking beauty, this movie offers the thrill of what great cinema is all about. This is the story of the development of a Korean artist in the 19th century, from his beggarly beginnings to great renown in his country. It's a very complex and often agonizing journey as this natural artistic genius struggles to create art for which he has enormous talent, but which is restricted by tradition and government control. The film spares us nothing...his heavy drinking, his sexual encounters, his rages...withal it's the underlyng "blessed unrest" of the artist that comes through. We're given the fruits of his creativity as well as awe-inspiring images of nature from which the work itself derives. This marriage of art and nature...man and his need to give expression to his talents is powerfully portrayed by the actors, the director...by all those responsible for this exquisite and uncompromising film,
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