Chunhyang (2000)

Director: Im Kwon Taek
Casts: Lee Hyo Jeong and Jo Seung Woo
Genre: Historical Drama and Romance
Running Time: 133 minutes
Certi: 12 (South Korea)

It’s a traditional love story about two lovers, Mong Ryong and Chun Hyang, the son of a nobleman governor and the daughter of a former courtesan, marry in secret. Mong Ryong is ordered to go to Seoul to finish his examination as a public servant. He has no choice but to leave his bride but promises he will return. A new governor arrives and immediately admires Chun Hyang. Chun Hyang stay strong for her love while struggling imprisonment and torture. The only way that she is saved from death is Mong Ryong to return to her. This story is narrated in pansoori, a traditional Korean form of storytelling that seeks to narrate through song.

A good folk romance tale to watch while listening to pansoori as a narrative tool. It reminds us the concept of Romeo and Juliet. The love between Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong is strong even though they’re from different classes. My heart aches for Chun Hyang when Mong Ryong left her alone. The pain that I see from Chun Hyang makes me so frustrated that I keep asking Mon Ryong to come back to her as soon as possible. While they question about class coming in their love, it reflect how the government was run during the old days in society. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful treat of two lovebirds who want their own freedom to be together and forever.

What I like about this film is how the story is narrated through pansoori. Director Im did say that pansoori is very difficult to appreciate at the right way. To be honest, last time, I couldn’t appreciated pansoori because of pansoori is sang with emotion. Director Im has already made my eyes open to appreciate pansoori by presenting its beauty through this film. I’m like the younger audiences who becomes from ‘not appreciating it’ to ‘appreciating it’. The link between the story and pansoori goes well and some songs which are sang by the narrator brings the joy and sadness to the audiences.

Another great film by Director Im to bring the pansoori to life in Korean culture that we truly appreciate it. It was a great classic love story between Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong while they have to deal with the corrupted government and classes in the Korean society. This will make you appreciate pansoori. Yes, you might get a bit bored at the beginning but then again you’ll then appreciate and how the pansoori is sang with emotions. Also, your heart will go from happy to sad and then to happy while you see two lovebirds just want to be together forever. It’s truly a classic and traditional Korean love story with pansoori.

Rating: 8/10

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