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Based on the novel 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses,' this film is set in aristocratic 18th-century Korea at the end of the Chosun Dynasty. The irresistible temptress Lady Cho asks her cad of a younger cousin, Jo-won, to deflower the innocent young Soh-ok, who is to become her husband's concubine. But, his attentions soon shift to the graceful and aloof Lady Sook, who lives according to her convictions as a Catholic. Jo-won becomes obsessed with seducing this chaste woman who has remained celibate for nine years since her husband's death. However, conquering the most virtuous woman in the land proves to be more difficult than Chosun's notorious playboy expects.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I've seen the previous films based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and I have to say that this one is surely the most subtle of the bunch, with wonderfully nuanced performances from all concerned. The story is familiar, of course, to anyone acquainted with the material, but it's the way it's told here, with such profound restraint, that separates it from being merely derivative. I haven't seen that many films from Korea, but based on this one, I would definitely like to see more, particularly from director Je-yong Lee.
Can't imagine why Elvis Mitchell (in his Times review) called this a comedy (and it's even listed here at IMDb as a drama/comedy) - perhaps if you're a first-class sadist, it would come across as amusing, this tragic story of disillusionment, heartbreak and ultimate death. I wasn't laughing.
(7 - the equivalent of a high *** - see my review of AI for my IMDb number/star equivalents, unique to this site)
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