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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
This could have been a great movie if the movie focused on the story of the artist and went deeper into the characters in the story. However, it seems like bits and pieces of a longer story that sometimes seem disconnected. The characters that come and go into his life are never elaborated deep enough to make us understand their effect in shaping up the artist's character and his life. I have recently seen the movie 'Pollock' on another artist and that movie has a much better (or I should say satisfying) approach to the story than this one, in the sense that it lets the viewer kind of peek into the man inside the artist. You do not get that feeling in this movie.
I also thought the scenes where the artist gets drunk were also a bit overdone. I'm saying this because the guy gets drunk a lot, and often displays aggressive behavior with an appetite for getting more drunk. These scenes could have been done better cinematographically with more close-ups and a bit more variety. Seems like these scenes were put throughout the movie to establish that the main character, besides the fact that he was a brilliant artist and a celebrity, always lived life like a commoner.
Overall, I would say it is a watchable movie, but it could have been much better...
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