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Chunhyang, chunhyang, chunhyang: Poetics of Im Kwan-Taek's Chunhyang

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Im Kwan-Taek, a leading Korean director, explores an aspect of Korean artistic heritage, pansori, in his recent film Chunhyang (2000). Korean traditions influenced by Buddhism and Shamanism have been major themes in his other films, including Mandala (1981), Aje Aje Bara Aje (1989), and Daughter of the Flame (1983). In his film Chunhyang, Im combines two different art forms: the Korean traditional performance art pansori and cinema. Pansori was a major theme in his film, Sopyonje (1993), in which he portrays the life of the pansori performer Song-hwa, whose father sacrificed her sight for the sake of mastering the artistry of pansori. In an interview, Im tells us that without having made Sopyonuje, Chunhyang could not have come to existence.1 Unlike Sopyonje in which pansori is incorporated within the film through the characters' performances, in Chunhyang, pansori singing leads the narrative.
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Keywords: Chunhyang; Im Kwan-Taek; Korean film; cinema; director; pansori

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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