Seopyeonje (Sopyonje)

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Movie Info

This extremely melodramatic story was perhaps the most popular locally made film ever to be shown in South Korea. It concerns the career of a pansori storyteller, and how he managed to pass on his vanishing lineage to an adopted daughter. Pansori is a semi-improvised storytelling form resembling "the talking blues" of America, in that it is sung, chanted, and spoken at various times, with an accompaniment drummed out by the singer/storyteller or (more usually) his partner. These very lengthy (often over six hours) recitations are highlighted with danced storytelling gestures. Further, in this story, it seems to be a mark of the profession that apprentices must be blinded upon attaining adulthood. In this film, Yu-Bong (Kim Myung-Kon) is traveling, as is his custom, from one town to the next and he meets a homeless girl and boy (Oh Jung-Hae and Kim Kyu-Chul) along the way. He adopts them, and attempts to initiate them into the rudiments of his artform. The boy finds it entirely too demanding, and is no doubt none too pleased about the obligatory blinding in his future and runs away. The girl, however, remains with the older man to become a master of the art herself. The story is narrated by the boy. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

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