Jung Ei-jin (79), the last transferee of the four Gukchang families, is looking for a transferee of the Dongpyeonje "Sugungga". Jung Ei-jin has many disciples, but everyone is unsuitable as a transferee due to circumstances. Jung Ei-jin is suffering because she can't find a successor as she ages. Students who continue their dreams narrowly between art and livelihood say they are happy when they sing.
The documentary Sugung-The Underwater Palace is about female singers pursuing an art career despite various difficulties, focussing on the life of Jung Ei-jin, the holder of Pansori Sugungga, an Intangible Cultural Property in Seoul. Jung Ei-jin is the great-granddaughter of Jung Changeop, the royal Pansori master, and the daughter of Jung Gwangsu, the first Pansori Intangible Cultural Heritage, and her life was rough and rugged. The film shows the turbulent days she went through as a Korean traditional musician who was not treated well and a woman who was ignored compared to men. As she went through tough times to reach the peak of her career where she is now, it would be good for her to find a successor of “Yangamje Sugungga,” comprising Dongpyeon-je Pansori tradition. In the meantime, director YOO Suyeon shows where Korean traditional music and female musicians stand in present-day Korea through the candidates for the potential successor. While one candidate tries to please contemporary audiences through a traditional Korean music fusion, another tries to keep her dream alive by working part-time, and another learns songs by running a karaoke bar. Sugung-The Underwater Palace is an ode to these female singers’ passion for their art, including Jung Ei-jin. (MOON Seok)
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