Archive of films Chunhyang / Chunhyangdyun

South Korea
2000, 120 min

Section: New Korean Cinema
Year: 2001


This gem of Asian cinematography has been compared to the classic films of Mizoguchi and Kurosawa. An old story is retold in an original form in which pure film is combined with pansori sung theatre. The story begins when a nobleman and man of letters named Mongryong spies a beautiful girl on a swing. The educated Chunhyang is the daughter of a courtesan and marrying her would prevent Mongryong from finishing his studies. In spite of this, he and Chunhyang get married in secret and swear eternal fidelity. When his father is called to the court Mongryong must accompany him, but promises the unhappy Chunhyang that he’ll soon return as a royal official. The new provincial administrator, a cruel and corrupt man named Byun, wants Chunhyang for himself and punishes her refusal with public torture and a sentence of death. Suspecting nothing, Mongryong passes his examinations and returns incognito as a royal spy. On the evening of the execution he exchanges his rich robes for simple clothing and sends for the soldiers and his sword.

About the director

Im Kwon Taek (b. 1936) has made more than ninety films in his long career and is one of the top figures of modern Korean cinematography. At the end of the seventies he departed from mainly generic productions with Hidden Hero (1979). After receiving international acclaim, two of his other movies were shown in theatres around the world: Surrogate Mother (1987) and The Pansori Singer (1993). Chunhyang was the first ever Korean film selected for the official competition at the Cannes film festival.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: New Korean Cinema
Director: Im Kwon Taek
Screenplay: Kim Myoung Kon
Dir. of Photography: Jung Il Sung
Music: Kim Jung Gil
Editor: Park Soon Duk
Producer: Lee Tae Won
Production: Taehung Pictures
Cast: Lee Hyo Jung, Cho Seung Woo, Lee Jung Hun, Kim Sung Nyu, Kim Hak Yong, Lee Hae Eun

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