Chi-hwa-seon

Film
Im's deceptively effortless follow-up to Chunhyang is a racy, frequently funny and finally rather moving semi-fictional portrait of a Korean master-painter, Ohwon, who worked, womanised and drank his iconoclastic way through the second half of the 19th century. At first the narrative zips along so briskly that it's hard to do much more than merely keep up - and admire the film's luscious visual elegance. As it proceeds, however, subtle details in the script, coupled with Choi Min-Sik's charismatic performance, lead to a deeper understanding of Ohwon's personality, of his relationship to the social and political turbulence around him, and of Im's own ideas about art and creativity. In some respects a little like Five Women Around Utamaro, but with rather more gags and pep, it's great fun.

By: GA

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