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Chihwaseon (2002)

취화선, Chi Hwa Seon, Painted Fire, Strokes of Fire, Ivre de femmes et de peinture

genre: Drama, Traditional
country: South Korea
Im Kwon-Taek, who visualized Choonhyang with the rhythm of traditional Korean music, here composes his screen with the tones of traditional Asian painting in this story of Jang Seung-up, the master painter of 19th century Korea. The artist
IM Kwon-taek's ninety-fifth film tells the story of renowned nineteenth-century painter JANG Seung-up (Choi Min-Sik), an artist whose revolutionary work - and persona - has forever changed the face of Korean art.

CHIHWASEON (PAINTED FIRE) begins in the 1850s, when KIM Byung-moon (AHN Sung-ki) saves the young JANG Seung-up from being beaten by a group of drifters. In return, JANG draws him a picture, and as Kim carefully examines the child's rough drawing, he notices the extraordinary potential of the young boy. Years later, KIM Byung-moon becomes JANG Seung-up's mentor and encourages him to pursue the life of an artist. KIM eventually gives JANG the pen name of Oh-won.

Later on his life, JANG Seung-up meets Mae-hyang, a daughter of a Yangban (social elite) who attracts him deeply. Although their passion is strong, they are eventually forced to separate when she runs away from catholic persecution.

JANG Seung-up eventually leaves his house and wanders about in pursuit of "true art," soon realizing that it is through pleasure that he can produce his greatest works. Oh-won's life is thus marked by the paradox of his inspiration derived by addiction to alcohol and convoluted love affairs with women.

As JANG continues to search for artistic transcendence, he stretches the limits of traditional Korean art, rapidly becoming a worldwide artistic reference - and one of Korea's national legends.

More Information
Duration: 117mins
Released: May 10, 2002

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Production: Taehung Pictures
Distribution: Cinema Service
Investment: MVP Investment, Terasource Capital Investment, SBS, iPictures

Format: 35mm Film
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Color: Color
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
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