Hwa-om-kyong is the Korean name of the Avatamsaka Sutra, used by Ko Eun as the title for his novel about a young man's tortuous path to Buddhist enlightenment in the India of the Fifth Century BC. Jang proves that he's not only the bad-boy provocateur of Korea's 'new cinema' but a world-class talent by reinventing Ko's novel as a commentary on present day Korea. In Jang's version a boy orphan who never ages physically journeys through the country in search of the mother he never knew; he goes from city streets and polluted dumps to the remotest areas of the country, meeting a prostitute blinded by her pimp, a political prisoner, a professor of astronomy, a Goddess of Mercy. Less a Buddhist film than a way of seeing the chaos of the present from an unexpected perspective, this is a devastating achievement.
Cast and crew