During the 1850s, Kim Byung-moon saves young Jang Seung-up from being beaten by a group of drifters. Seung-up draws a picture to explain the reason of being beaten. Kim looks carefully at Seung-up’s rough yet extraordinary talent… and years later, Kim encourages Seung-up to pursue the life of a true artist and gives him a pen name, Oh-won. Seung-up meets Mae-hyang, a daughter of a declined Yangban (aristocrat) who attracts him deeply. But they part when she runs away from persecution of the Catholics. Seung-up wanders about in pursuit of the truth of art. Nobody can hold on to him. Only through pleasure can he eagerly stroke his paintbrush. He confirms the power of his brush stroke through his painting of a monkey with a liquor bottle in hand while mocking the world. As fame builds up, he yearns to change and go beyond his own limits. Then one day, he experiences how his body’s energy flows into the paintbrush. Seung-up discovers the state he has strived to attain, turns his back to the world and fades away…
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
A striking film to look at and feel. And contrary to what the person below me says, the perceived historical accuracy, combined with the way the film eschews conventional narrative chronology in parts simply makes this an even more refreshing experience.
Brilliant synopsis for such an uneven film. Imo, It falls completely in the last 40 minutes, forgetting the esential thoughts, digression and its focus on the perturbed creative process that marked the first part of the film. Possibly cause of the flaw: Obsession with similarity to History.