Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits, at LKFF 2014

This is one of the films that LKL will be looking forward to as part of this year’s Korean Film Festival:

Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits

만신, Dir Park Chan-kyong (박찬경), 2013
Odeon Covent Garden, Monday 10 Nov, 8:30pm | Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Thursday 20 Nov, 5:30pm

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A documentary spanning a lifetime, Manshin centres on a woman who has been shunned for being ‘possessed’ by spirits as a girl, oppressed for her superstitions beliefs as an adult and how she has grown into a great shaman has been honoured as a nation treasure of Korea. Kim Keum-hwa is one of Korea’s greatest shaman who was actually born in Hwanghae Province, North Korea before the Korean War. Her shamanic traditions hark back to when she was seventeen and became possessed by spirits during an initiation rite called Naerim-gut. Though this film documents the life and times of Kim Keum-hwa, it also gives a history of the oppression of people who believe in shamanism throughout 20th century, through the Japanese colonial period, Korean War, and 1970’s New Community Movement.

The film is told through a mixture of rare archive footage, music performances, provoking mythical fantasy scenes and reenactments with actors including; Moon So-ri, Kim Sae-ron and Ryu Hyun-kyung. This magical and eye opening story is imaginatively brought to life through the eyes of director Park Chan-kyong who previous work all include shamanic themes such as short film Night Fishing co-directed with his brother, Park Chan-wook. As with past work Park Hyun-kyung looks to mainstream Korea’s near lost shaman identity and religion. Whether you believe in the shamanic teachings or not, Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits is a fascinating and visually compelling film.

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