Enough with the Brokeback Mountain brouhaha already, let's talk about something really interesting: a film about gay clowns from South Korea! Well, technically one "delicately effeminate" male clown (Lee Jun-gi)and a king who's attracted to him, but still, for a film from highly conservative South Korea, that's a lot. The film, King and the Clown, is about a a troupe of entertainers condemned to death for mocking the king, unless they can make the king laugh with their skit about the king and his concubine. Lucky for the troupe, the king laughs and they become court jesters instead of executed entertainers, and Kong-gil, the male clown who plays the concubine in the skit, draws the king's special favor - much to the ire of the troupe leader, who has always protected him.

The film, directed by Lee Jun-ik, has been a surprising hit in a country where homosexuality is still quite taboo; the director himself feels the movie's success is more about the audience being drawn to the film's exploration of class contrast than the homosexual undercurrent. Whatever is attracting audiences to the film, they seem to like it - the film has become the third highest-grossing film in South Korea. The film's English title downplays the theme of homosexuality as well; the Korean title is actually The King's Men.

[ via Alternative Film Guide ]


categories Cinematical