We see with both eyes and the mind. If the mind is not there, you can have “eyes that do not see”. On the other hand, it is possible that when physical vision is lost the mind’s sensitivity rise to a level that otherwise cannot be achieved. So it is with Songhwa in Sopyonje (1993). She lost her vision because her father poisoned her. It is not clear that motivated him to do this. It may be that he had wanted her daughter’s mastery of pansori to reach a new height, and had believed that a sense of deep grief is necessary. It may be that he wanted to reinvigorate Songhwa, who had been too much preoccupied with the departure of her brother, who could not stand the high expectations of their foster father and the poverty and status as a pansori singer. In any case Songhwa regained herself, and was able to free herself from the preoccupation with her brother’s departure. On the other hand, her brother started looking for her and Yubong after a few years, having missed the “family”. After trying very hard for years, the brother eventually was able to find his sister Songhwa. He did not reveal his identity and Songhwa could not see him physically, but it is quite evident that she realized it was him. Both however preferred to leave the reunion unannounced. They sang in a dialogue of emotions, and they were both momentarily enlightened to flash of deep understanding that required little conversation.
The movie is all about passion: a man’s passion for traditional values, for perfecting the form of artistic expression called pansori through the voice, and for living truthfully and earnestlt the way he wanted, knowing well the sacrifices involved. The movie has striking images and sounds. There were scenes showing how totally absorbed were the singers in the singing to the beating of the drum, when they sang out the emotions of lovers who are willing to make huge sacrifices for their loved ones.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lok_ho/106/