Screen/Society--Cine-East: East Asian Cinema--"Seopyeonje"
(Kwon-taek Im, 1993, 112 min, South Korea, Korean, Color, DVD)
The specifically Korean tradition that is reclaimed in Sopyonje is the type of folk-song known as pansori, described as a musical sublimation of South-West Korea's collective grief and suffering - in other words, a kind of blues. The film's three central characters are itinerant pansori singers in the 1950s, a time when many aspects of Korean culture came under siege from Japanese and western influences. A man named Dong-ho is roaming the rural hinterlands, ostensibly to find rare herbal medicines for his sick son back in Seoul, but actually in search of Song-hwa, the woman he grew up with. Orphans, they were both apprenticed to the pansori master Yu-bong who pressured them to sacrifice everything for the art. Dong-ho rebelled and ran away while Song-hwa stayed. Rumor has it that she is still traveling and still singing pansori.
-- Winner of the Golden Globlet Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival!
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Sponsors: , Asian Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Program (AMES)