Seopyonje

Korean movie of breathtaking pathos and musicality. It is a musical drama depicted the almost lost art of Pansori singing in Korea. Pansori singing is a storytelling form of art that uses lot of body movements and is sung to the accompaniment of a drum called pansori gosu. Pansori can be remotely compared to Kathakali form of art of Kerala in the sense of the body movements, but Kathakali has more facial movements and the music is more rigorous compared to pansori. Also Kathakali is a mime form of art. The tonal quality of pansori singing is also different from our raga form of music.

In the movie the pansori singer brings up his children Oh Jung-Hae and Kim Kyu-Chul as pansori performers, while Oh sings well Kim learns the gosu. But considering the dwindling interest in cities for his art, they go down into poverty and there is a kind of raw abuse of their art. The gosu kid runs away from his home to escape poverty while Oh continues to learrn under her father. The end scenes are quite poignant and there is a lot of anguish in it. The director has managed to build a pathos in the movie towards the end especially the plight of Oh.

Acting by Oh Jung-Hae is quite breathtaking. Don’t know if this movie went to the Oscars, but surely belongs there at the very top.

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