Due in part to a dense shroud of regulatory policy, the Korean film industry finds few viewers in the West. One of a mere handful of directors to break through this barrier in recent years is Im Kwon Taek (Mandala, Ticket). The latest in a line of more than 100 films for Im (Korean family names come before given names), Chunhyang is a vivid retelling of the classic Korean tale of an 18th century love that withstands and defines a culture.
A musical of sorts, Chunhyang emerges as a rare pairing of film with the ancient Korean operatic tradition of pansori. As such, the picture opens on a black, dimly lighted stage as the pansori singer begins the tale, blending quickly into the moment of action.
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