A logical step on from Im's earlier reclamations of Korea's vanishing traditional culture, this frames its retelling of a very well known folk tale as a theatrical performance by pansori singer-storyteller Cho Sang-Hyun. (The director's cut dramatises the impact of his performance on sceptical kids in the audience but that's gone from the 121-minute export version.) Chunhyang is the daughter of a kisaeng (Korean geisha) in Namwon; the scholar Lee Mong-Ryong woos her doggedly, and the two eventually become lovers. But while he departs for the capital to sit the imperial exam for a civil service post, Chunhyang falls victim to the newly arrived governor, who beats, imprisons and sentences her to death for daring to refuse his advances. Im casts personable newcomers as the young lovers and uses bold colours and compositions to turn the tale into a dark rhapsody.
Cast and crew