“Chihwaseon” is yet another nice historical piece from acclaimed South Korean director Im Kwon-taek (who also directed the exquisite “Chunhyang”). The film looks at the life of renowned Korean painter “Ohwon” Jang Seung-up (played by Choi Min-sik), a symbolic figure during a tumultuous time in Korean history.
Im paints an exquisitve picture of a personality that matched the social atmosphere of his time – irreverent to tradition, Ohwon ascended from his lower-caste upbringing to become a revolutionary figurehead during the fading of the insular and conservative Chosun dynasty. He also lived his life in a reckless, uncompromising manner, and Im isn’t afraid to reveal the tumult that often fuelled his art. Scene after scene blends masterfully with the work of Ohwon’s paint brush, and the power of images and symbols reveal not only a great artist, but also a pivotal era in Korean history.