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[HanCinema's Image Gallery] "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard" @ 24fps

2015/01/31 | 634 views | Permalink

Choi Dong-hoon's "JEON WOO CHI: The Taoist Wizard" @ 24fps...

There are so many films flashing furiously past our eyes nowadays that it's hard to remember some of the devilish details, moments, and ideas from our favourite features. Add to that all the music videos, T.V. series, news broadcasts, digital advertisements, YouTube playlists and gaming, and it might well start to feel like there's an insurmountable backlog of compelling content, and you'd be right (sooner or later). Our lifetime is slowly being replaced by digital dream streams that if we were to watch all the classics, the critically acclaimed, personal recommendations and cultural must-sees, our lives would no longer have a convincing anchor in reality, and screen-time would be our only time.

As a cinephile, and a person, this upsets me. And while I don't have any immediate answers to dealing with the sheer size of one's DVD collection or external (digital technologies have indeed left our feeble lifetimes far behind), I have a suggestion for at least reflecting on cinematic time given and enjoyed.

Sure, screenshots from films are readily available online and a plenty, but this digital dumping does little to counter the existential crisis of a true cinephile. I want to relive magic moments, sublime shots and sequences, and remember details like the costume design, dialogue, lighting, framing, and so on. Nothing excessive (Google is aptly named), just a humble 24 frames to remember, share, and celebrate before the next wave. Enjoy!

#1 Immediately director Choi Dong-hoon shows off his mytho-magical world in all its CG glory.

#2 Believe it or not, this is one of three immortal gods in charge (regrettably) of keeping the evil goblins at bay. Here, he's openly explaining his existential plight to his doctor (on her notepad she'll write: "Megalomaniac").

#3 This is a great scene where Woo-chi uses his wizardry to fool the King of Joseon into thinking he's a god (which aren't really that impressive to begin with).

#4 Woo-chi and his shapeshifting sidekick before the storms hits.

#5 One of the beasts (which are really just pure incarnations of a simple evil) shedding his human husk to engage an arrogant Woo-chi and his dog.

#6 "The Taoist Wizard" contains a continuous stream of magic moments that remind you to suspend your disbelief (Unfortunately this also applies to the narrative).

#7 Here our hero, Woo-chi played by Gang Dong-won, tries to impressive a young widow he's escorting home by showing her the ocean through magic.

#8 Our garbed gods getting ready to seal away a problematic spirit. Here, in the Joseon era, their religiosity is clear, but the comedy kicks in when they enter the 21st century.

#9 One of the gods (Joo Jin-mo-I) is a shaman when we move to forward to modern times (having lived through the hundreds of years till today) he now runs a successful fortune telling business. Here, he tells a customer her husband is cheating on her, it's her fault, and that she (in a past life) poisoned the King's tea.

#10 Another 'god' has become a devout Christian, and so is a bit of a Jesus fan.

#11 Amidst an intense car chase, Woo-chi tries to 'empty' himself of all thoughts in order to access his magic without any talismans.

#12 Woo-chi didn't have the luxury of his Joseon contemporaries of living through the centuries, and so had to figure out and get used to his strange new surroundings. Off all the new sights and tastes the modern world offered him, it's an actor's assistance that catches his eye (again).

#13 Woo-chi uses his magical privilege to score some beer and chicken for him and his animalistic sidekick.

#14 He is the cliche and cocky young talent who cares little for the rules and most others. However, there's a powerful moment in this sequence where he sees a homeless man on the street, and asks: if there is no King during these ages, who feeds the people?

#15 Nice mise-en-scene here adding a hopeful aesthetic layer to Choi's wild ride.

#16 The three wild beasts of pure evil are hard to relate to, and so a more personal puppetmaster appears to up the stakes.

#17 Our new villain's methods are a lot more personal than the wild beasts and their brawn.

#18 Shadows and sexiness flaunted as the final showdown commences.

#19 The bloodied fan Hwa-dam took from his master, a tool he now wields against the up-and-coming Woo-chi.

#20 A set gets smashed when magic and egos collide.

#21 Deus ex machina

#22 "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold"

#23 One motif that I enjoyed was that beasts can be bottled, and wizards can have their likeness frozen in art-time.

#24 The film ends with Woo-chi and his Deus on the dunes.


- C.J. Wheeler (@WoolgatheristKoreaOnTheCouch)



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