Two clowns living in Korea's 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.
Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councilor Heo Kyun to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect ... See full summary »
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New high-school transfer student Na-Mi comes from a small town in Jeolla Province to her new school in the capital city of Seoul. When she is nervous, her small town dialect comes out & she... See full summary »
Despite their different family backgrounds, four friends grew up together in the wearisome years of the 70s. But as time goes by, each of them takes a different life path. After enrolling ... See full summary »
Sang-woo, the leader of college rock band Volcano, dies and sets up a reunion for Gi-yeong and the other members of the group. Former bass player Seong-wook lives a hand-to-mouth existence ... See full summary »
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Soul mate minstrels Jang-sang and Gong-gil eke out a living in 14th century Korea through bawdy stories presented in a tightrope act; however, sexual interests of the rich over Gong-gil's androgynous looks impair their basic desire to entertain once too often. A line is crossed, an authority figure dies, and the pair must flee to Seoul. They soon take up with a trio of fellow minstrels and, lead by Jang-sang, present riskier shows that prove more lucrative; but, a scathing exhibition satirizing the king and his concubine puts them under arrest with a set date for execution. Forced to present themselves to the king for final judgment, they surprisingly wind up becoming his court performers, but the tyrannical king, though sensitive and intelligent, is also excessive and psychologically scarred, with the minstrel shows putting him uncomfortably in touch with buried issues over his dead mother (long ago forced to commit suicide by the court). This makes him dangerously unstable. The ... Written by
In 2006, this film became the highest grossing Korean film to its date selling over 12 million tickets (with a total gross of over US$70 million) and surpassing the previous record holder, Taegukgi (2004). Its box office record was broken later in the year by Gwoemul (2006). See more »
In the on-screen translation, opening titles call out Korea's 500-years-plus Chosun Dynasty as being unmatched in the annals of "word" history, rather than "world" history. See more »
I knew this movie was extremely popular in South Korea, but I never had a chance to watch it until today. And I am very glad to report that it exceeded my already high expectations.
Not so many excellent movies draw my full attention from the beginning; they tend to pull me in toward the climax. With this movie, I found myself completely immersed after the first few minutes. Although the theme of love, jealousy, and politics are commonplace (except the subtle homosexuality which I don't believe plays too much role in this movie), director Jun-Ik Lee magnificently put together the beautiful Joseon dynasty Korea, euphonious dialogs, and some great acting. I particularly liked that of the King (Jin-yeong Jeong) and Jang-sang (Woo-seong Kam).
It made sense why the movie was so popular and why many people have seen it more than once. It is a multifaceted masterpiece which can appeal to multifarious crowds: it is a love story, a political drama, a comedy, a tragedy, a musical, a historical gallery, and maybe more.
I believe the dialogs are straightforward enough to be translated well into English, but non-Korean audiences may lose some great rhymes and subtlety - especially those of the clowns as their dialogs are downright colloquial and hilarious. Granted, I still believe everyone will find the film enjoyable from at least one perspective.
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