Director: Im Kwon-Taek
Year Released: 2002
Korean artist Jang Sueng-up was born poor, lived through some turbulent years in Korea's history (invasions and revolts and all that) and disappeared one day never to be found, and in between he painted some pretty drawings of birds, trees and flowers that everyone loved. Lacks drama - he's flaunted early on as being a genius, so there's no growth or struggle as an artist (even his screw-ups are praised), and his only real problems come when he drinks too damn much and starts yelling at people. Even the political aspects are quickly glossed over as secondary events - his 'big moment' is arguably escaping from a corrupt ruler's abode, which is hardly Mission: Impossible. As for the art itself, it is lovely, though if you're someone who likes the art to 'speak for itself,' this will infuriate you - at every turn the movie tries explaining to you what makes the work 'so amazing,' with various characters making observations like "painting is the expression of knowledge," "the peony symbolizes wealth and fame," "the harmony of the colors is accomplished," "[Sueng-up's] brush never wavers" and "a humble stone must be alive in a painter's eyes." I'd only take that kind of talk from two people - John Ruskin and Bob Ross - and they're both quite dead.