Chihwaseon Reviews

January 10, 2018
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.
June 20, 2003
It is quietly observant, with a detached eye for the telling moment, and the visual compositions are often exquisite.
June 6, 2003
The problem is, painting isn't a spectator sport, as the interminable scenes of Jang at work continually confirm.
June 6, 2003
[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 5, 2003
Another masterpiece from one of the world's more neglected great directors, a master artist who here reveals the soul of another.
May 16, 2003
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
A vividly entertaining portrait.
May 14, 2003
The film's sexy romanticism and its tragic sense of Korean history will thrill even those who have never set foot in an art gallery.
Top Critic
May 2, 2003
Painted Fire is gorgeous. Even a shot of the dirty and miserable Jang flinging himself about in a bare room of wadded-up paintings turns into a thing of beauty.
April 18, 2003
The film is art in all its visual splendor, and no matter how confusing the historic story line may be to Westerners -- and it is -- the images on screen more than compensate for the faults.
March 14, 2003
A handsome film, filled with lavish costumes and set designs and told in a series of exquisitely composed images.
February 14, 2003
There's much to fill the eyes.
February 14, 2003
Slow and stilted.
February 13, 2003
If you've never seen a South Korean film, or even if you have, Chihwaseon is an ideal place to start or continue.
February 11, 2003
The film succeeds as the rehumanizing of a near mythical figure.
October 24, 2002
Mr. Im's own aesthetic command is evident in the movie's wealth of beautiful, perfectly framed images of nature.
June 5, 2002
Im Kwon-Taek has crafted a stirring, poetic portrait of the creative process as personified by Ohwon, an eminent late-19th century Korean painter.