I've seen a brilliant handful of Korean films in the last year, all of them excellent, but this one is the most important. The film itself is a pansori song, filled with the _han_ of an entire country.
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.
Film doesn't get any better than a remarkable long take halfway through. Melodramatic, sure, but welcome when it's infused with such a poignant melancholy, a palpable sense of combined warmth and sadness. Its testament to a forgotten art (the pansori at its core) will make you wish it had a soundtrack.