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main information

english title Sopyonje
original title 서편제
aka 西便制
french titleLa Chanteuse de Pansori

cast & crew

director IM Kwon-taek - 임권택
actor KIM Kyu-chul - 김규철
KIM Myun-Gon - 김명곤
KIM Ki-Cheon - 김기천
CHOI Jong-Won - 최종원
KO Dong Eop - 고동업
LEE In-Ok - 이인옥
OH Jeong-Hae - 오정해
scriptwriter KIM Myun-Gon - 김명곤
editor PARK Gok-Ji - 박곡지
PARK Sun-Deok - 박순덕
cinematographer JEONG Il-Seong - 정일성
assistant director KIM Hong-jun - 김홍준

additional Info



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 sick son 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 (played by the film's writer, Kim Myung-gon) 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 travelling and still singing pansori... The tale has one truly shocking twist, but the overall one is plaintive, elegiac and serenely beautiful.

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