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Chunhyang (2000)

Cast: Yi Hyo-Jeong, Yi Hyo-Jeong, Cho Seung-Woo, more...
Director: Im Kwon-Taek, Im Kwon-Taek
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Studio: New Yorker Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Korea
Running Time: 120 min.
Languages: Korean
Subtitles: English
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Renowned Korean filmmaker Im Kwon Taek offers his own unique take on a classic romantic fable with this 13th century tale of a stunningly beautiful young woman torn between the man she loves and the governor she's obligated to marry. The film uses the framing device of a present-day narrator who, accompanied by a drummer, sings the story of Chunhyang in front of a responsive audience. The film flashes back and forth between the singer's presentation and scenes of Mongryong (Cho Seung Woo), a young nobleman who falls captive to the beauty of the commoner Chunhyang (Yi Hyo Jeong). They profess their undying love to each other and elope, soon after which, Mongryong is forced to accompany his father to Seoul for three years. In the interim, a tyrant named Byun (Lee Jung Hun) comes to power in Chunhyang's province and demands that the beauty marry him. She refuses, and Byun schedules her for execution -- just as Mongryong returns to the province to reclaim his true love. Chunhyang made its North American Premiere at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Korean Measure for Measure by kiume August 9, 2005 - 12:19 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The Korean folk tale that the screenplay is based upon begins as a Cinderella-type love story about young love conquering class, in this case between Chunhyang, daughter of a courtesan, and the son of a local governor, Master Lee Mongryong. When Mongyong's father is promoted to a position in Seoul, he orders his son to accompany him in order to prepare for his civil service exams

And so the lovers must part, though not after consummating a common-law marriage. Here, the story resembles Fidelio, Beethoven's paean to marital devotion, though it is closer in tone to Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (Mongyong's servant Pangja providing the comic relief), including the sharp turn from light to dark melodrama. Though where Shakespeare focuses on the balance between justice and mercy, the Korean version makes central the conflict between competing Confucian loyalties to state and spouse

A new governor has been installed in the province. Hearing of Chunhyang's famed beauty, he orders her to appear before him. She rebuffs him, telling him that she is already pledged to another. But he ranks the privileges of class over the promises of the heart. Confucian order demands her obedience to hi

Eat Your Heart Out James Brown by squad June 25, 2004 - 6:33 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
The synopsis and reviews here are very accurate. I can only add my agreement. The narrator is very blusey in cadence, making me wonder if the roots of the blues are more universal than previously acknowledge. It reminded me of the preaching in African American Baptist churches. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, settings, story, mode of presentation were all superb.

Better than I would have believed possible by kamapuaa November 4, 2003 - 8:28 PM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
The idea of making a movie conversion of a Korean operatic/folk-tale form sounds hopelessly corny, and I was suspicious about renting this.

However, this movie greatly exceeded my expectations. The plot divides into a Cinderella segment and a Penelope segment, but remains an engaging fairy tale. The costumes & settings are grand. The cinematography is amazing (and on occasion, makes you wonder how they did it). The actors are attractive.

Most notably, the interaction between the caller and the movie was amazing. It may sound dry, but the director switched between the caller and the scenes he describes so seemlessly, it really gave the sensation of being an avid fan, one visualizing the action. At one point, at the height of the drama, the movie pulls back from scenes of the action, to a scene of the narrator describing what's happening - and somehow, it adds to the drama of the movie. Damn!

Between this, the otherwise unrelated My Sassy Girl, and to a lesser extent other Greencine rentals, I've been startled by the quality of recent Korean movies. It's a genre that's worth exploring.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.91)
88 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2000
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
fear of commitment
movies i want to see...i think. feel free to offer insight into my quandary.

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