Mandara (Mandala) (1981)|
Director : Im Kwon-Taek
Production Company : Hwa Chun Trading Co., Ltd
Date of Rate : 1981-07-13
Date of Theatrical Release : 1981-09-12
Running Time : 105 min.
Opening Theater : Dan Seong Sa Theater
Genre : Literary Art
Writer : Kim Seong-Dong
Screenplay(Adaptation) : Lee Sang-Hyeon, Song Kil-Han
Producer : Park Jong-Chan
Assistant Director : Kwak Ji-Kyun, Yoon Jeong-Shik
Executive Producer : Hwang Ki-Seong
Director of PhotoGraphy : Jeong Il-Seong
Gaffer : Cha Jeong-Nam
Music : Kim Jeong-Kil
Art Director : Kim Yu-Jun
Editor : Lee Do-Won
Sound/Recording : Motion Picture Promotion Corporation(Lee Jae-Wung)
Ahn Seong-Ki, Jeon Mu-Song, Bang Hee, Lim Ok-Kyeong, Yoon Yang-Ha
Six years after renouncing the secular world to solve the riddle of life and death, young Buddhist monk Beob-wun (Ahn Sung-ki) is still roaming the country without coming any closer to enlightenment. While riding a bus, he sees a recreant monk placed in a predicament because he does not have his identification. He helps out the monk, named Ji-san (Jeon Mu-song), and the two begin to travel together. Ji-san, who always has a bottle of booze on hand and even carries around a suicide pill, sometimes seems like an enlightened saint and at other times like a reprobate infected by secular life. At first, Beob-wun regards Ji-san's eccentricities as mere outward show and despises him for it, but he increasingly senses an extraordinariness about his traveling companion. After repeated meetings and partings, the two monks settle down at a small temple deep in the mountains. While climbing up to the temple one day in an inebriated state, Ji-san falls asleep in the snow and freezes to death. Beob-wun burns Ji-san's remains and seeks out his own mother (Park jung-ja). He also meets Ok-sun, a woman Ji-san had never gotten over. His meetings reaffirm the futility of all secular relationships, and young Beob-wun sets off on his ascetic path once more.
A masterpiece among Korean religious films, and one of the most beautiful of Im Kwon-taek's works
The long shot of Beob-wun and Ji-san as they walk along the tree-lined path marking the boundary between snow and mud a shot that recalls the grace of a black-and-white ink painting conveys the most beautiful image of companionship in Korean cinematic history. The path they tread also symbolizes the boundary between passion and enlightenment, life and death, reincarnation and nirvana. In the first half of Mandara, Ji-san is characterized as someone who, in the words of Beob-wun, "is imitating the eccentricities of the enlightened priests of old." But as the movie progresses, his image begins to take on increasing genuineness. The narrative of Mandara is, in a sense, the process of presenting in a timely manner various pieces of information that infuse life and inspiration into the character of Ji-san. The movie also boasts outstanding direction and camera work, striking a curious contrast between direct lines that give testimony to the times e.g. "Monks must never get fat; they have no right to be" and indirect, stable cinematography that enfolds the characters who utter these lines into the arms of nature.
- Mandara is based on a novel by Kim Seong-dong.
- Director Im Kwon-taek was first introduced to Kim Seong-dong's novel through the movie's production company, Hwa Chun Trading Co. He was immediately captivated by the book: in his own words, Mandara was the movie for which he "showed the most enthusiasm for" in his entire career.
- Around the time Mandara was being made, director of cinematography Jeong Il-seong had to undergo serious surgery for rectal cancer. Im Kwon-taek comforted Jeong and waited for him to recover his health. After his surgery, Jeong began shooting Mandara even though he had not fully recuperated.
Director Bio: Im Kwon-taek (1936- )
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 Aje Aje Bara Aje (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 of Sopyonje(Seopyeonje). He won many national and international awards for his works that dealt with traditional Korean themes and motives and many retrospectives of his works were held abroad. In 2002, he won the prize for best director at the Cannes Film Festival with his work, Chihwaseon(Chihwaseon) and in 2005, won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Berlin Film Festival for his lifetime effort in film