Tuesday, August 1, 2006


The King and the Clown (왕의 남자)

Finally, I watched the much anticipated Korean film "The King and the Clown" (왕의 남자) in its entirety. 왕의 남자 The film is set to the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. Two clowns, the macho Jang-sang and the cross-dressing Gong-gil are chosen by the King to live in the palace as entertainers against the advises from the King's officials. The King's lust after Gong-gil jeopardizes the bond between Jang-sang and Gong-gil.

This film reminds me so much of my beloved "Farewell My Concubine (霸王別姬)." There are very similar relationships between the main characters. However, in exploring these relationships, this film shows its inferior compared to "Farewell My Concubine."

I thoroughly enjoyed the traditional Korean folk dance performance and the costumes in the film are splendid. I love the subtlety of the film when it tells the story and display the affections among the characters. It's very Asian.

I don't know why the media characterized this film as the Korean version of the "Brokeback Mountain." I find they are very little in common. And I like "The King and the Clown" (왕의 남자) much better.

The next morning when I woke up, my mind was still completely filled with the characters in the film, especially Gong-gil, played by the pretty Lee Joon-ki (이준기). If I were the King, I would order him to be my personal entertainer as well. No wonder this film has been the blockbuster hit in Korean history. I think the Koreans like Lee Joon-ki as much as I do.

My rating: 8 out of 10.

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