One day during the early 1960s, a man in his thirties arrives at an inn in the mountains. The innkeeper’s singing stirs up his childhood memories, which begin with the arrival of a famous pansori singer named Yubong (Kim Myeong-kon) in his village. Yubong falls in love with a local woman, andtakes her with him when he leaves the village. The woman, her son Dongho (Kim Kyu-cheol), Yubong, and Yubong’s daughter Songhwa (Oh Jeong-hae) all live together, until Dongho’s mother dies in childbirth. Yubong trains Songhwa to cultivate the “voice” for pansori, and teaches Dongho to accompany her on the drum. When war breaks out, their lives become even more difficult. Unable to understand Yubong’s single-minded devotion to pansori, Dongho runs away from home after a heated altercation. Songhwa neither eats nor drinks as she waits for Dongho to return, and Yubong, believing that a true “voice” for pansori cannot be achieved without profound grief, blinds his own daughter. Dongho hears about Songhwa from a monk named Naksan (Ahn Byeong-kyeong) and searches far and wide for her. The two of them finally reunite at a tavern. Through the long night, Songhwa sings and Dongho plays the drum, unraveling their sorrow without exchanging a single word in conversation. In the morning, they part again in equal silence and Songhwa sets off with a little girl leading the way. —Korean Film Archive
He began his filmmaking career as prop assistant to the lighting assistant, going through the traditional apprenticeship system of Chungmuro to become a film director. And in 1962, he made his directorial debut with Farewell Tumen River (Dumangang-a Jal Itgeora), an action film that deals with the plight of the Independence Army of Manchuria. He made Weeds(Jabcho), Mismatched Nose (Jjagko), and The Family Pedigree (Jogbo) during the 1970s and with his movies of the 1980s, Kilsodeum(Gilsotteum), Ticket (Tiket), Surrogate Mother (Ssibat-i) and Mandara (Mandala), gradually became recognized for his artistry and craftsmanship. He met Lee Tae-won and began working with Taeheung Film Studios starting with his 1989 film Come, Come, Come, Upward (Aje Aje Bara Aje) and continued to work consistently with the studio from then on. He achieved box office success with his The General’s Son (Janggun-ui adeul) series and became a nationally recognized figure with the then unparalleled box office success… read more
This is what Korean cinema is all about. A story about the struggles faced by pansori artists, it is a reflection on Korea's loss of tradition and culture. It's success at the box office makes this film a true piece of Korean cinema. SOPYONJE is highly rewarding, and I recommend you don't miss this Im Kwon-taek classic of our time.