Peeking out from underneath the awkward, spoken word/village minstrel/performance art presentation of "Chunhyang" is a deeply moving romantic epic struggling to get out.
An ancient Korean fable about the forbidden love between a provincial governor's noble son and the beautiful daughter of a former courtesan, the story told in this film is a timeless one of passion and tragedy.
But prolific Korean director Im Kwon Taek (he's made over 90 films in less than 40 years) holds the viewer at arm's length by telling the story within the distracting framework of a pansori performance -- a traditional, rigidly stylized narrative stage show that involves a storyteller singing and reciting the tale to an accompanying drumbeat.
Continue reading: Chunhyang Review
Swinton herself is an ex-boarding school pupil.