Education About Asia: Online Archives

Chihwaseon (Painted Fire)

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DIRECTED BY IM KWON-TAEK, PRODUCED BY LEE TAE-WON (2002).
COLOR; IN KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES, 116 MINUTES.
RATED R

Chihwaseon (Painted Fire) is a passionate portrait of nineteenth-century Korea’s greatest painting master, Jang Seungup (known as the artist Oh-won). It won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director award for the dean of Korean filmmakers, Im Kwon-taek, and has won acclaim by critics around the world, even when they admit to not quite understanding why the film works so well. Their appreciation and puzzlement owes directly to the professional tone of Im Kwon-taek, whose films, especially his most recent works such as Sopyonje and Ch’unhyang, have taken direct aim at the emotions of Korean audiences and are therefore “insider” films for Koreans. It is all the more remarkable, therefore, that all three recent Im Kwon-taek films have been widely viewed and praised by non-Koreans.

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