Drunk on Women and Poetry

Critics Consensus

A fittingly artful biopic about the life of a brilliant painter, Chihwaseon offers an uncommonly compelling look at a singularly creative life.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 42

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,217
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Movie Info

Jang Seung-Up (Choi Min-sik) is a Korean peasant and a gifted artist. Upper-class Kim Byung-Moon (Ahn Sung-ki) discovers Jang and, recognizing his talent for painting, agrees to become his patron. As a result, Jang's skills continue to develop and his profile rises. He falls in love with Mae-Hyang (You Ho-Jeong), but class differences keep them apart. When Jang learns Mae-Hyang has married, he succumbs to a self-destructive downward spiral of alcoholism and womanizing.

Cast & Crew

Min-sik Choi
Jang Seung-up
Sung-kee Ahn
Kim Byung-Moon
Tae-won Lee
Producer
Woo-Suk Kang
Executive Producer
Kim Yong-oak
Writer (Screenplay)
Il-sung Jung
Director of Photography
Kim Young-dong
Music
Park Soon-duk
Film Editor
Kwon-taek Im
Screenwriter
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Chihwaseon

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (7)

  • This South Korean film is one of the few authentic artist biopics ever created for the screen. It doesn't crudely guess at the source of the late 19th century painter Jang Seung-up's genius. It simply exhibits it.

    January 10, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It is quietly observant, with a detached eye for the telling moment, and the visual compositions are often exquisite.

    June 20, 2003
  • The problem is, painting isn't a spectator sport, as the interminable scenes of Jang at work continually confirm.

    June 6, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Neil Smith

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • [Chihwaseon] rushes through the life of its subject in nimble leaps and bounds, concentrating on the livelier and more spectacular parts and avoiding the dull historical and biographical stretches.

    June 6, 2003 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Another masterpiece from one of the world's more neglected great directors, a master artist who here reveals the soul of another.

    June 5, 2003 | Rating: 4/4
  • The movie's attention to anthropological and historical detail means things are slow to come alive. But once they do, the nature of Jang's psychic torture is palpable and unmistakable.

    May 16, 2003 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Chihwaseon

  • Nov 05, 2009
    Jang Seung-Up is an artist that just can't catch a break. His talent is noticed at first, but he is soon buried beneath an ever increasing number of art students. He is eventually noticed after making a perfect copy of a more established artists painting, after having just one look. This brings about attention, which is also his downfall. He is shunned for outclassing his own teacher, and soon becomes a drunken mess. There's a lot of redemption in this film, almost anyways. Jang is a man that can only excel whilst drinking. This leads to an obviously large amount of problems. Chihwaseon is a very breautiful film, in terms of the arts it presents, and the way it presents itself. The acting is highly emotive and believable, with Choi Min-Sik, carefully balancing the dependent Jang, with touches of hostility and openness. It's only drawback is the predictable nature of the biopic. Take an individual's life, and truncate it to 2 hours, and you're bound to run into similarities with other famous people of the past.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2008
    Up until recently,a number of films dedicated to the lives and times of exceptional painters,fine artists in a broader scope started emerging out of nowhere.Ladies,gents,I present you the unanimous masterpiece of them all,forget Pollocks and Fridas,Sung-up,a humongous legend in the Joseon dynasty in Korea,a fabulous poetic journey by the hands of an elderly Im Kwon-taek and yet profoundly young,Min-sik proves he is an Actor.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer

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