Korean with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Jun-ik Lee
Starring: Woo-seong Kam, Jin-yeong Jeong)
RunTime: 1 hr 59 mins
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.festivefilms.com/kingandtheclown/
Opening Day: 22 June 2006
Two clowns living in the Chosun Dynasty get arrested for staging
a play that satirizes the king. They are dragged to the palace
and threatened with execution, but are given a chance to save
their lives if they can make the king laugh.
Who would have expected the feat that The King and The Clown
achieved in the Korean Box Office?
moderate low budget film with it's relative unknown actors
had it's difficulties during it's production and was close
to shutting down at one point during the production.
the crew and cast persisted on and became a box office sleeper
hit, ousting blockbuster films with big budget special effect
films and films with A-list Korean actors. It stayed on to
become the Korean Box Office all the Champion. And consider
this, this film touches on homosexuality which had been a
taboo subject in Korea until recent years.
a miraculous feat and now, Singaporeans will get to see what
the draw of this film.
plot got started with Jang Seng (Kam Woo Sung), a street clown
with the audacity to come up with a play that mocks King Yon
San (Jung Jin Young). This hilarious and daring poke at their
ruler brought them money and attention from the crowds. But
then it also gathered the attention of the authority and soon,
they had this one chance to perform for the King in exchange
for their lives.
in front of the King was a nerve wrecking experience and just
when death seems imminent, Jang Seng's partner, the effeminate
Gong-gil (Lee Joon Ki) pulls a surprise performance and crack
the straight face of the King. It pleases the King so much
that he requested the clown to stay in the palace to entertain
might seem that all is well now but soon it became a "out
of the frying pan and into the fire" scenario for these
clowns as the King turn out to be a murderous crazy despot
and has taken a liking to Gong-gil.
Woo Sung gave a credible fierce performance as Jang Seng,
a tough guy who refused to bow down to any obstacle and would
go all out to protect his partner in crime, Gong-gil. The
most remarkable bit of his performance was his ability to
emulate a certain vulnerability towards his mate Gong-gil
amidst his tough gungho exterior.
Joon Ki as the effeminate Gong-gil was another strong aspect
of the film. The androgynous features of Lee joon Ki was played
convincingly well that it's not hard to believe that there
will be high authorities male that fancy Gong-gil over other
female beauties. Exterior attraction aside, Gong-gil also
demonstrate an unusual strength through a frail character
that surprise and adds dimension to this character.
third and most interesting character among the three would
be the despot King Yeon. Jung Jin Young gave a mesmerizing
performance here as a maniacal ruler. One moment he is laughing
and teasing his followers and a quick snap, he is ordering
men to be beheaded. Like Jang Seng character, there an interesting
duality to the King's character. It's easy to identify his
character as an evil and unnecessary cruel ruler initally
but taking a closer look into the King's life would unravel
the reasons for the character he had became. Easily one of
the most intriguing character among the three as he could
install fear to the audience and yet later reel in their sympathy
it's an interesting Korean film to catch. On one hand, it
had an ambiguous love story between two male clowns and another
it has a emotional power struggle in the kingdom which made
it an interesting combo for a film. It has intense acting
from the trio and a tale that reminisce the situation in "Farewell
My Concubine" with a touch of "Brokeback Mountain"
in it. Fans of those two movies should try to give this movie
(Intense acting from the actors and a tale that invokes
memories of Farewell My Concubine)
by Richard Lim Jr