Director: Im Kwon-Taek
Studio: Cinema Service / Bitwin
Rating: 18 +
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About This DVD
In his new movie Chihwaseon, director Im Gweon-Taek uses the history and natural beauty of Korea as a backdrop for the story of the painter Chang Sung-up, one of the preeminent Eastern painters of the late Choson period.
Chang (Choi Min-Sik) begins his life begging on the street, but his intense desire to study the Eastern landscape painting tradition brings him to the attention of the nobleman Kim Byong-moon (Ahn Seong-Gi). Kim takes in the young Chang, and becomes his lifelong mentor and friend. Gradually, other members of the noble class realize the extent of Chang's artistic talents, and he quickly finds himself becoming a part of their inner circle.
Chang receives heavy patronage from the noblemen of his era, and the loosening of class structure in the latter half of the 19th century _ which many saw as a foretelling of the political turmoil and eventual collapse of the Choson Kingdom _ allowed Chang to exist comfortably at their side. However, the movie shows Chang as never quite fitting into their world, at first because of the difference in class, and later due to aesthetics.
As with Western modernism, which placed an emphasis on individuals and novelty, Chang is portrayed as craving a truer approach to artmaking, and becomes frustrated with the noblemen's inability to see past stylistic traditions and techniques. During his long and frequent drinking binges, his contempt for those who deaden the integrity of painting comes to the surface, as he picks fights with noblemen and screams obscenities from rooftops. Ultimately, Chang is shown to be a loner who is most comfortable drifting through the fields and mountains of Korea in search of artistic inspiration. Nature becomes his teacher and alcohol becomes the catalyst for his eventual breakthrough. The work of cinematographer Jung Il-sung especially shines during these outdoor scenes, as the movie beautifully juxtaposes the landscape of Korea as the painter might have seen it during his wanderings with the paintings themselves. "Chihwaseon" is more imagistic than Im's previous films, which sometimes focused on the narrative to the detriment of the visual. Instead of his usual long takes, which let the story unfold in front of the camera, Im here uses a lot of quick cuts, presenting large segments of the painter's life as a series of images. It feels almost too hurried at times, as if the movie felt pressured to tell everything in two hours, but Im is able to keep the narrative from feeling too cramped. Overall, "Chihwaseon" is a beautifully filmed movie that manages to avoid the cliches usually used in movies about artists. While it might be questionable whose artistic philosophy is being presented _ Chang or the makers of the film _ the audience will leave the theater with the impression of an artist who, through all the political and historical changes, remained firm in his devotion to a life in painting.
|Audio Format:||Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS 5.1 Surround|
|Video Format:||Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamporphic)|
|Special Features:||Disc 1: Interactive Menu, Scene Selection; Disc 2: Making of Chihwaseon, Another DVD Chihwaseon, Release, Production Notes, Photo Gallery, Cast and Crews, Telecine Production, Different Scenes from Movie, Glory of Cannes Festival, Comparision with Real Pictures, Imitation Picture Gallery, Interviews, Trailer, TV Spot|
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